The Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board will introduce an online payment system for fundraising and other school-related activities later this fall.
Superintendent of business Chris Spina told trustees at Wednesday night’s board meeting that parents have been contacting him and asking for an online payment option for more than a year now.
“There’s a need in our system,” Spina said to trustees during the board meeting. “We got approximately $1.7 million that goes to our schools on a yearly basis, and a lot of that is in low bills - I mean, fives, tens, loonies and toonies.”
Spina says that the online payment system - also known as School Cash Suite - by KEV Group will cost about $35,000, in addition to recurring annual costs.
“A lot of our parents of students, especially in our elementary system, are younger parents and they’re used to living in this world anyway,” Spina told trustees.
Although the board is going ahead with a full rollout of the School Cash Suite in all of its schools this fall, paying cash for school events like pizza days will remain an option for parents.
“We will still allow parents, some parents, to pay cash - the ones who don’t have access and really don’t want to go down this road,” Spina said. “We can’t force them to do it, but we’ll be marketing this.”
Spina says the new online payment system will “alleviate a lot of work” for principals, vice-principals and teachers who are in the business “handling a lot of cash” and making deposits due to the sheer volume of fundraisers and school activities throughout the year.
“There’s so much activity in the elementary schools - grade eight field trips, raising monies, and then in the high schools they have three or four times the activity - they have sports teams raising money for their trips and their debate teams and all the other teams that are involved,” Caputo told trustees. “There’s so many avenues of fundraising across the spectrum.”
A pilot project was considered at first, but Spina told trustees that there is a “real need” to proceed with a full rollout.
“Whenever you have that much cash in your system, there’s always, you know, possibility of it getting lost or whatever the case may be, so it’s also safeguarding the cash,” Spina said.
The board will begin training principals in late September, and it’s expected that the online payment software will go live in late October.