ABBEVILLE — The Vermilion Parish School Board voted 5-2 Thursday to enter into an agreement with MCS Software to allow parents who pay for school lunches to make payments online via credit card and check students’ accounts from home.
The action was taken following a presentation by Mary Jumonville, coordinating supervisor of the Child Nutrition Program, who said she was acting on the direction of the prior board when she began looking into the possibility of parents being able to make payments and check lunch accounts via the web.
At a June meeting, the board directed Jumonville to poll parents and make sure there would be enough participation to cover the $1,400 cost to the school district.
At Thursday’s meeting, she said 46 percent of the parents paying for lunch for their children responded to a phone survey and 813 said they liked the service, even with a $2.75 per transaction fee.
Using the poll numbers, she estimated 813 parents would participate in the program, which is being set up as an additional resource, not to make the district money.
“Parents will not have to use the service,” she said. “They will also be able to pay the old way by check or by sending money to school with students. The board can also cancel the contract at any time if they feel it is not working out.”
Board member Chris Gautreaux said he was not in favor of the proposition because it was not clear what credit cards would be accepted by the software company.
Gautreau also said he was concerned that credit card fees would rise without warning to the school district, despite Jumonville saying the fees were set by the contract.
“We don’t even know if they will take American express or the Discover Card,” he said. “I just don’t know exactly what is happening. Also, as a business man, I deal with these companies on a daily basis and I know if the credit card companies raise their fees, you have to pay (to keep their service).”
Members Gautreaux and Tony Fontana voted against the measure, Dexter Callahan was absent.