Biometric Technology Means Never Having to Worry About School Cafeteria Money Again

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Now there is no need to provide school lunch money to your child. Nor is there the need for your child to remember a PIN number or carry a lunch card.

The parents have said that it's really great to simply deposit money and know it's there

Now there is no need to provide school lunch money to your child. Nor is there the need for your child to remember a PIN number or carry a lunch card.

For parents, it's a persistent and nagging problem: A child, provided with school lunch money, bypasses the lunch line entirely and spends that money at the corner store on candy and soda. Or, worse, has that money stolen by a bully and forced to go hungry. A parent providing cash to a child has no control over what their child does with the money before it is properly spent on a nutritional school cafeteria lunch.

One solution has been PIN numbers or swipe cards, instituted in schools, that access personal accounts into which parents have deposited money for lunches. But kids will be kids. PIN numbers are forgotten, forcing school cafeteria staffers to look them up for the children and causing lunch lines to come to a stop.

The twenty-first century resolution to this problem is biometric technology--the use of finger scan reading to access personal accounts set up in advance by parents. Already instituted in numerous school systems across the nation, it is solving a plethora of school cafeteria problems for both school administrators and parents.

"The parents have said that it's really great to simply deposit money and know it's there," says Mike Tubbs, IT Manager at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, California. "The kids don't have to take money to school, and parents can simply know their children will be buying lunch every day." The school utilizes a biometric system developed for schools by Food Service Solutions (FSS), and has two point-of-sale readers set up in the school cafeteria.

JSerra's previous purchasing system, based on a child's student number, created many problems. For example, a student would provide their number to a friend who would pay the student for the food purchased, and the student would simply pocket the money. Or, other students would purchase with another student's number.

Another successful implementation of biometric technology is in three schools in the Fairfield School District of Fairfield, Texas. "The majority of parents here think it's great," says Crystal Thill, Food Service Director for the district. "They know their money is going for their child, instead of somebody else using their account."

"Before we got this system, there were parents calling in saying, 'my child didn't purchase that,'" Thill continues. "Of course, we had no way of telling whether their child purchased it or not, and we would have to delete the charge. Now it's a given that the child did purchase items."

Initially there were worries from parents in both school systems of the "big brother" aspect--that fingerprints would be stored and provided to law enforcement or other agencies without authorization.

However, the fingerprint is not stored as an image and instead is stored as mathematical information only. "We explained to parents that the fingerprint is not taken as it would be in law enforcement, where it would be rolled in ink and pressed," JSerra's Tubbs says. "It is simply a mathematical 'map' of the fingerprint digitally stored, and used only here for school cafeteria purchases."

Food Service Solutions
Mitch Johns
Call (814) 949-2037
Fax (814) 941-7572
http://www.foodserve.com

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Mitch Johns
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