State rolls out new school lunch online payment system

school lunch 2

By the start of next semester, parents could have an easier way to pay for their child’s school lunch, as well as to check on the balance in their account.

Last year, we told you about the Dept. of Education’s plan to launch a new online payment system.

We spoke to food services supervisor Dexter Kishida, who is in charge of rolling out this new program. He said that not only will parents be able to pay online from home, they’ll be able to pay from anywhere using an app.

For years, parents either sent lunch money with their children to school or they went to the school office to pay with cash or check.

“My daughters go to Lincoln Elementary,” said Regina Reyes, “and it’s kind of a hassle to have to go to the office just to pay for it and then, you know, you want to drop off the kids and just go not have to make another stop.”

Kishida said that the system, which is called “Primero Edge,” is easy to use. It’s like shopping on line.

“You log in, you register a credit or debit card,” he said. “We will be adding a check account feature in the future.”

There’s also electronic notifications and an app for your smartphone. “Families can download the app called School Cafe and add money to the child’s account, look up what purchases were, as well as come the new school year, fill out a free and reduced application all from that phone app.”

“I think that’s convenient,” said parent Kevin Kalani at Moanalua High School. “That would be a great opportunity for us actually, a great option for us, being that we are busy always at work, doing stuff after school.”

Kishida said the new program will cost about $800,000.

“It’s actually a pretty decent price that we are getting for a system that is going to bring a lot more transparency for families to be able to see when children have purchased,” he said.

All public schools will have the new system in place by next year if all goes well without a hitch. Parents will be notified in December about the new payment method.

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