Mike Campbell takes money from students waiting to pay for their lunches Monday at Steamboat Springs High School. Students can now take advantage of an online program that will allow them to take part in a debit lunch account and also will allow parents to track what their children are purchasing for lunch.

Photo by John F. Russell

Mike Campbell takes money from students waiting to pay for their lunches Monday at Steamboat Springs High School. Students can now take advantage of an online program that will allow them to take part in a debit lunch account and also will allow parents to track what their children are purchasing for lunch.

New system lets parents track school meal purchases online

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To create an online lunch account, visit www.mynutritionki...>

— On the first day of school this fall, Steamboat Springs School District students were assigned a four-digit code that could be used as a debit or credit system to pay for lunch.

The goal of the system, according to the district's director of food services, Max Huppert, was to move students through the lunch line as fast as possible by eliminating cash transactions.

On Friday, parents gained access to another aspect of the point-of-sale system - the ability to track their children's purchases online.

"Parents will have the ability to print out a copy of their child's eating history report," Huppert said. "This history report will show you all dates and times that your child has purchased a breakfast, and or lunch, within the past 30 days."

School Board member Denise Connelly plans to use the system with her 15-year-old son, Conner Garrecht-Connelly, a freshman at Steamboat Springs High School.

"When you give a kid cash, and they have some independence and flexibility, you are not sure they are spending on nutritional, healthy things," said Connelly, who also has two daughters at Soda Creek Elementary School.

"At the elementary schools, they are a little bit more limited in choices," she said. "At first, I had to give Conner lunch money, I wasn't sure if it was going to lunch or not. If I write a check to school, I know where that is going."

Previously, money could be added only to accounts at the school, but on Monday, parents could access the system remotely.

Huppert said students will be issued identification cards at the schools to use as a swipe card in school lunch lines.

To access the system, parents can log onto www.MyNutritionKids.com. Parents can then create an account for their children where they can add money and check purchases.

"All you need is your child's name, student ID number and school ZIP code," Huppert said. "The instructions listed on the back of this page will guide you through the easy online account set-up process."

Sophomore Austin Hinder said that when the cashless system was first implemented he enjoyed the ease of not using paper money and the faster pace of moving through the lunch line, but the system is not popular with all students.

Senior Taylor Miller-Freutel called the system an invasion of privacy for upperclassmen.

"It would be really weird if my parents went online to check it out," she said. "It's an invasion of privacy, like checking your grades online, but I guess it provides insight into their teenager's life."

Miller-Freutel said she rarely eats at school because as a senior, along with juniors, she is able to leave campus for lunch.

"I feel that upperclassman should be able to be responsible for ourselves, but it is understandable that parents of underclassman would like to know what is going on at school," she said.

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