Editorial: Online payments a good additionA new centralized online payment system should be a convenience for District 196 parents and a benefit for the district as it tracks the money parents spend
On Monday, the District 196 School Board approved a new online payment system that should come as a welcome addition to district parents. The new tool, once it’s up and running, should simplify things for families and the district alike.
Ultimately, the centralized fee management system will provide an online hub where parents can pay for anything they currently spend money on in the district. That includes community education classes, field trips, sports fees and lunches, among other things. The system will also allow parents to fill out forms online.
That’s a great convenience for parents. For the district, it means a lot less cash and fewer checks floating around in the schools. There’s less chance payments will get lost.
That tightened money-handling chain is an improvement that was identified as desirable during the district’s last audit.
Of course, the system will only work if people actually use it. To help ensure that happens the district will absorb the bank fees that come with the increased credit card use. That could amount to as much as $180,000 in the first year, depending on how quickly people adjust to paying online.
That is a lot to swallow, but there are enough other positives that the move makes sense. It’s hard to ask people to take on a new system while also asking them to pay more.
That could change in the future, once the district gets a sense of how much people are using the system. But even then it shouldn’t be a big adjustment. Finance director Jeff Solomon said an increase of just 1 percent to activity fees should cover the difference.
That’s a small price to pay for the benefits that will come along with this new system.