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Cash to remain king in Pinellas school cafeterias



In this age of plastic, some Pinellas students want to know - why can't they pay for their school lunches with debit cards?

At a recent workshop, the Pinellas School Board met with student leaders from the county's high schools. Emily Tharp, a senior at Seminole, asked why she had to pay cash to get her mid-day meal.

Pinellas students have accounts that their parents can fill with funds, but Tharp said sometimes parents forget and don't have cash on hand. Allowing students to use their debit cards to pay for food would put the control in students' hands.

The idea didn't get much traction. Superintendent Michael Grego said it was worth looking into before realizing that parents can fill accounts. Contracting with debit card companies can cost money, he said.

School board member Terry Krassner also failed to get on board, saying, "We have these 30-minute lunches and to get through the line as quickly as you can" needs to be the goal.

"The problem with [debit card swiper] Square is you have to make the connection, punch it in, then sign it and get a receipt," said Carol Cook, chairwoman of the board. "It takes a lot of time."

[Last modified: Friday, November 22, 2013 11:11am]


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