COVINGTON – Parents of Newton County school students may soon have an online option for paying for their children’s school activities.
During its work session Tuesday, the Newton County Board of Education discussed a proposal to expand the usage of “MyPaymentsPlus,” an online portal that is currently available for parents to pay for students’ school lunches.
Under the proposal, Horizon Software International’s “MyPaymentsPlus” could be used for all school-related payments, including for fees for school pictures, sporting event tickets, field trips, parking citations and after-school programs. The cost of using the system would consist of a 4.29 percent transaction fee, which will be included in the price of the products and services provided.
“What we would like to do is offset that fee. For example, if we charge $10 for a T-shirt, we would then charge $10.50 for a T-shirt, and that would help absorb the (transaction) fee,” said NCSS Business Manager Peggy Bullard during her presentation to the Board.
BOE Chairwoman Abigail Coggin, whose son attends a Newton County school, said the 4.29 percent transaction fee is a small price to pay for convenience and security.
“I use it and don’t mind paying that extra fee because it’s so much simpler than sending money in with my son, and there’s no telling where it may end up between the house and school,” she said.
Bullard added that some schools in Gwinnett and Cobb already widely use MyPaymentsPlus.
According to NCSS, more than $3 million in payments for school activities in the form of cash and checks goes through school principal accounts each year. The Georgia Department of Audit requires that these funds be counted, receipted and secured by multiple school staff members on a daily basis. School personnel oftentimes have to take multiple trips to the bank each week to deposit these funds, making the receipt collection and processing procedure time-consuming and labor intensive.
The ultimate goal of using MyPaymentsPlus more widely is to reduce the amount of cash transactions handled by school personnel, according to the school system. The software keeps a record of all transactions for parents and authorized school personnel to monitor online.