(PRWEB) January 19, 2005
Fingerprint technology is now being harnessed at K-12 schools around the nation for school lunches. Students simply place a forefinger on a small reader by the register. Public schools such as those in the Penn Cambria and Wilson School Districts in Pennsylvania have adopted this technology to speed operation; simplify payment; limit lunch fraud and bullying; improve National School Lunch Program (NSLP) participation; and to improve reimbursement for programs such as Title I, E-rate, and No Child Left Behind, which use NSLP food service data to gauge poverty.
ÂUnlike cash, tickets and swipe cards which can be lost or stolen, your fingers are always with you -- and no one can use them to gain fraudulent access to your account,Â says Brenda Bucynski, secretary to Penn Cambria School DistrictÂs Foodservice Director.
Allaying fears of identity theft, Mitch Johns, president of Food Service Solutions, the company that implemented the biometric use of fingerprints in the Penn Cambria School District as well as scores of schools and colleges throughout the U.S., is quick to point out that his system does not store any prints.
ÂOnly the numbers are retained in the form of a mathematical algorithm and those cannot be reinterpreted into a fingerprint image,Â explains Johns. ÂBoth parents and students can rest assured that the images cannot be used by law enforcement for identification purposes.Â
ÂBiometrics technology has brought much needed anonymity to our foodservice program,Â says Dr. Russell Strange, Superintendent of Penn Cambria School District. ÂNot even the cashiers know which students are ÂfreeÂ or Âreduced,Â and the students and parents have responded well.Â
ÂFor ten years prior to the system, high school averaged 28.6% low income,Â continues Strange. ÂNow in our fourth year of using the biometric system, high schoolÂs low income is 42.7%, with a four-year average of 39.1%. High school is only 2% points below elementary low income for 2004-2005. The additional reimbursement enables us to provide higher quality meals and more generous servings.Â
ÂTeachers love that the new system gets lunch money out of their classrooms,Â says Bucynski. ÂOne teacher says sheÂs gained half-an-hour of teaching time a day, since she no longer has to concern herself with lunch money during class.Â
The Wilson School District in West Lawn, Penn. turned to this biometric ID technology primarily to expedite the lunch payment processing at the request of parents.
ÂParents didnÂt want to doll out $1.60 for their child every day, or give them a $10.00 bill and wonder if theyÂd ever see the change,Â says Pat Anthony, Foodservice Director for the Wilson School District. ÂParents wanted to pre-pay for lunch, but keeping track of accounts with paper and pencil was untenable. And we didnÂt want to buy into a system where parents would end up taping PIN numbers to their kidÂs hands.Â
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