School cafeterias introduce finger swipe payment system
School cafeterias introduce finger swipe payment system
Posted on 01/22/2014
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WEST HAVEN, Dec. 9, 2013 — The school district is implementing a new meal purchasing system in all cafeterias that simply involves the swipe of a finger, rather than the use of a student ID card or number.

The new check-out method will go into effect Jan. 27 and is expected to speed up lunch lines, curb clerical errors, and enhance security of students’ meal accounts. District leaders and Sodexo, which began managing food service operations last summer, opted to install the new system as part of a continued effort to improve the food service program’s efficiency and overall operations.

They also saw a need for faster check-outs because more students are buying meals and taking advantage of new and expanded menu offerings.

“We’re excited to start using this new program and expect it to have a positive impact, since kids will spend less time waiting in line to buy lunch and more time eating,” Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro said. “The system is high-tech, yet easy to use.”

The finger scan system uses a database to match certain points on a student’s finger--not fingerprints—with that student’s meal account for payment. Students will scan a finger each time they purchase food.

The purchase and installation of the new system is being paid for by Sodexo as part of the company’s annual investment in the West Haven School District food services program.

“School districts across the country are using this technology to offer better service to students,” Food Services Director Meg Kingston said.

The system does not keep fingerprint images. It creates a template of only certain points on the finger to identify each student. These templates are stored in a database that is used only by West Haven schools with the same high level of security of all student records.

When a student graduates or is no longer in the school system, the finger scan information will be destroyed. Since fingerprints are not saved, students’ fingerprints can never be recreated or released.

Due to the change, the PaySchool meal payment system will be replaced with a new program called NutriKids, and all remaining PaySchool balances will be transferred to Nutrikids.

Parents were notified of the initiative in a memo sent home this month. Children who do not participate can continue using an ID number or cash to buy food.

Contact: Communications Director Susan Misur, 203-937-4300 X7114;