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Parents can be cafeteria monitors

Parents of Cleveland Hill School District students will soon be able to know exactly what and how much their kids are eating at school, following a decision by the School Board to upgrade the district's cafeteria systems.

After computers are configured and photos of students are completed, the district plans to let parents manage lunch accounts online and set guidelines for student diets. The system will be backed up by photo identification.

"Cashiers will have pictures of the students on their screens when they pay [with an account number]," said Larry King, director of technology for the district. "Kids won't be able to walk through with another student's card, and it should prevent mix-ups between accounts."

To that end, the School Board approved the $13,910 bid of System Technology Group of West Seneca to upgrade the lunch program's data collection and management systems, paid for out of lunch profits, according to board President Robert Polino.

The district has used System Technology's point-of-sale systems since 1996, King said, but bid out the Web-centered upgrade.

Parents of Cleveland Hill students can currently ask for a paper-printed copy of their child's lunch account activity, but the report shows only dollar amounts and dates, Polino said. Account payments are typically sent with students to school or made directly to the office.

The comprehensive purchase reporting should be online soon after Thanksgiving break, King said, and pictures linked to lunch accounts soon after they return from photography studios. King said the district is working with System Technology on expanding payment options to include both credit cards and online payment services such as PayPal.

"If someone is buying a bunch of ice cream or double and triple lunches, parents are going to see that," Polino said.

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