Left a bad taste in my mouth

I have been away at a summer house without stable internet. When I did have a turn online, I felt like every second was being counted... since the connection was low, it took 5 minutes just to read an e-mail and respond. That meant I didn't respond much and no blogging.

I did respond to one e-mail.

My friend forwarded this e-mail (in red italics) regarding a rise in prices on payment for school lunches using meal pay plan, BRRSD's chosen provider. I didn't know about it it, because although I am registered to pay online, the company never sent me this e-mail, NOR is it mentioned when I log on - although there is a note that fees may be applicable for payment.

Dear Parents/Guardians:

We want to thank all of you for your participation in the MealpayPlus program. We would like to inform you of an important change that will be effective on August 1, 2009. Due to steadily increasing credit card processing and development costs, the program fee associated with deposits made through MealpayPlus will be 4.75% of the total transaction. Your School district does not earn income from these fees.

***Example: Paying $40.00 through MealPayPlus will now cost $1.90 for the transaction vs the $2.00 flat rate in the past.

We have maintained the same program fee since the inception of MealpayPlus in 2003, and have taken precautions to ensure that this switch is in line with current industry practices. Due to the addition of various credit card programs (including rewards programs), our Visa/MasterCard processing rates have steadily increased over the past several years. It is always our goal to help you better manage your student payments. The new program fee ensures that we can continue to develop state-of-the-art technology to do so.

Please keep in mind that viewing your account balance, checking purchase history, and setting up low balance e-mail reminders are still offered at absolutely no cost!

We thank you again for your participation in MealpayPlus, and remind you that the program fee change will become effective August 1, 2009. The current flat fee will continue to apply for all deposits made until August 1, 2009.

Sincerely –
Questions? Please visit “Need Help?” at www.MealpayPlus.com.

PLEASE CONTACT Dr. Schilder, Peter Starrs and the BOE. (Most of them have e-mail addresses if you click on BOE, but Mr. Lerner and Ms. Schnider still refuse to let the public contact them via e-mail for BOE affairs! Ms. Schneider is, of course, available on the BW Township Rec website, although it's a BOE matter, I guess we are forced to contact her at work!). Dr. Schilder is the Superintendent and Mr. Starrs is the Business Administrator, ie. the one in charge of external contracts/purchases. I believe they presented Meal Pay at a BOE meeting (or a PTO meeting?) a couple of years ago.

Cheap as I am, I refused to spend the $1.00 per transaction that Mealpayplus charged last year and sent my kids in with checks. While checks are fine, they cost the BRRSD more to deal with in administrative costs (manpower) than an online service would. In this case the parents are being unreasonably charged for the company's operative costs. I believe that a company who sells products online should absorb credit card fees. I would never purchase something from, say, Amazon, if they started charging me these types of fees.

Please contact the BOE as well as meal pay and let them know how you feel if you agree with me! In 2009 it is outrageous to charge families nearly 5% for an online purchase! The district doesn't receive any of these funds.

PLEASE ASK THE BOE/BRRSD to pick a new provider!


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