AASA School Solutions

A Payment Tool Parents (and Staff) Appreciate

by JAY D. BASS

Staff time at RHAM High School in Hebron, Conn., was being frittered away managing various software programs and solving technical issues arising from the lack of data transfer among the multiple platforms. The 2,000-student high school was using more than six noninterfacing software programs to track students’ payments, collect lunch money, maintain student data and contract with vendors.

The staff explored alternative online payment systems last summer. The top criteria for evaluating other payment programs were to find (1) a system that accommodated the various software needs and satisfied compatibility issues with existing financial and student data software and (2) an interface that parents and PTA and booster group coordinators would find easy to use.

Jay BassJay D. Bass



Extra Benefit
RHAM made the switch to Pay4SchoolStuffOnline. We now effectively manage the constant stream of fee payments, forms, record keeping and trips to the bank, while reducing the time spent resolving accounting errors that led to mismanaged money and the headaches of program incompatibility.

One ancillary benefit for the school is the easier handling of refunds due to the absence of personal checks. The electronic transaction tracking and depositing of monies relieves staff of the burden of money collections or dealing with accounting errors. This frees up staff time to focus more on instruction and operation of the school.

Parents also benefit because now they can make payments 24/7 in a secure, web-based environment, while staff have real-time reporting for all transactions. On-screen reports, based on any date, item, parent, student or category, can be printed or saved to Excel. Preliminary feedback indicates the percentage of parents using the website to pay athletic participation fees (one of several fees RHAM posts online) has increased between 25 and 30 percent, saving staff approximately 125 hours already this school year.

As an instructional technology coordinator told me: “I think you guys have developed a really cool tool. And it’s so easy to use. No more dealing with checks and cash — the parents love it. The reporting capabilities are wonderfully extensive and all of our data are available in an instant.”

Interactive Processing
Pay4SchoolStuffOnline is an AASA School Solutions Partner. Our goals are to help save school and school-affiliated organization staff time and money, allow parents easy access to payments online in a secure environment, provide detailed, flexible reporting to parents and program coordinators and simplify the collection of payments for schools with greater efficiency.

Everything from exam fees to fund raisers to spirit wear (with sizes, colors and sports seasons) donations, field trips, and activity and course fees can be listed with date controls on a school’s interactive payment platform. Schools can customize the payment menu with school-specific items, establish dates for item availability and control how the modest processing fees are shared between the school/organization and parents. Schools are able to design and list no-cost items in order to collect information from parents for directories, databases and contact information, thereby eliminating the need for most forms and paper responses. And a new e-mail capability from within the program allows for easy communication with parents.

The annual agreement involves no licensing, set-up, monthly or termination fees. The small transaction fee is the only cost involved. And with the many groups within a school needing to collect monies, receive funds and maintain accounting separately, Pay4SchoolStuffOnline offers regular electronic deposits to different groups’ bank accounts. It’s a comprehensive, easy solution for administrators, teachers, students and parents.

Jay Bass is president of Payment Partners in Falls Church, Va. E-mail: jay@paymentpartnersinc.com