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District 304 students to get new debit system to pay for lunch

GENEVA – Paying for school lunches is about to become easier in the new school year, as Geneva District 304 will move to an easier, cheaper way for parents to provide funds in their students’ accounts.

At a presentation to the school board this week, technology director Elizabeth Janowiak said the new Web-based lunch debit system, PushCoin, is innovative and gives more flexibility and additional funding options to parents.

PushCoin will be rolled out Oct. 14 in the high school, Dec. 1 in the middle schools and Jan. 5 in the elementary schools, Janowiak said.

​“We looked around, and we actually found a system right here in our town of Geneva,” Janowiak said. “They are parents in the district who developed this, and they worked closely with us to improve the system so it meets all of our requirements.”

PushCoin was developed by Anna and Slawomir Lisznianski. Their company, PushCoin Inc., was established in 2012 in Geneva, serving public and private schools, festivals, resorts and amusement parks, according to its website, 

The platform allows schools and merchants to process payments via finger scan, contactless card, magnetic card or 2D/3D barcode, according to the website. Janowiak said in the previous finger scan lunch payment system, money must be deposited in the student’s account by 8 a.m., or it is not available to pay for lunch.

With PushCoin, as soon as there are funds in the account, it is available to pay for lunch, and no students will be turned away in the lunch line because money deposited after 8 a.m. is not available, Janowiak said. Also, the district absorbed all the transaction fees of the previous system, but PushCoin has no transaction fees, though parents who pay with credit cards will have reduced transaction fees, she said.

“They offer a free electronic funding option, so parents can use an electronic check to fund the account with no fee,” Janowiak said. 

Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Donna Oberg said last year the Rev Trak system cost the district $20,000 in transaction fees.

The company also will provide equipment, monitors and stands in the schools’ cafeterias at no additional cost, she said. Parents will get real time reporting of all transactions via email of students’ purchases and warnings about low balances, she said.

PushCoin was tested as a pilot program in the high school in May and June with no problems from Sodexo food service staff learning the new system, Janowiak said. 

The district will upload student records this summer and finger scan all students in preparation for the PushCoin lunch payment system. If parents do not want the finger scan, students have other options such as by name, ID bracelet or student ID.

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