There are few things worse than forgetting your lunch on Pasta Monday, walking into first lunch and seeing a hot lunch line stretching past the freshman tables.
Starting this year, in an effort to make the notoriously long lunch lines go faster, Mr. Tim Eoriatti, lunchroom moderator, and Mrs. Jane Campbell, the technology moderator, have incorporated a digital lunch payment system.
“It’s called PowerLunch, a feature of PowerSchool,” Campbell said. “Parents can sign up for an E-Funds account to deposit money online directly into their daughters’ lunch accounts.”
“What we want to happen is for the students using cash to go to the line closest to the gym, and the students using PowerLunch to use the farthest line,” Eoriatti said.
“We would also like the students choosing to just buy desserts to wait until the last 15 minutes. That way the kids that eat lunch get through the line and have time to eat.”
The idea to digitalize the lunch system came from repeated requests from parents for a way to electronically give their children lunch money.
Ideally, students will have their numbers memorized, choose what they want for lunch and punch in their number in the keypad at the lunch counter.
“I’ve got it down,” Eoriatti said, “On a day when everything goes smoothly, we get everyone through the lunch line within 12-15 minutes.”
Students forgetting their number causes the bump in the road. “The cashiers can look up a student by her last name, but it slows the line down,” Campbell said. “Eventually, students who don’t remember their numbers will be asked to go to the back of the line so they don’t hold up the others. Getting girls through the line as quickly as possible is a priority.”
Students can only pay using cash or their lunch code.
“The reason,” Eoriatti said, “Is because with the new system, the checks parents give their children for lunch money can just be deposited into their PowerSchool account.”
Another concern among students is whether IOUs will still be accepted.
“Ideally, no. If you’re in the lunch system, we’ll tell you when you’re at the $5 point. If you overspend, we’ll tell you to get money into your account.”
Students can now expect a regularly fast lunch line.
However, PowerLunch is still in its infancy. As with all new things, there are strengths and weaknesses. Students and staff alike both just need some time to adjust.