Higley USD moving toward cashless schools with online payment system

Higley USD
Higley USD will implement a new online payment system for its schools this spring. (Courtesy Higley USD)

Higley USD will implement a new online payment system for its schools this spring. (Courtesy Higley USD)

Higley USD is moving toward having its schools go cashless as it begins implementing an online payment system this spring.

The district is moving off its current student activities accounting software system, the Active Network’s Bluebear software.

District financial analyst Justin Weston, in his presentation to the governing board Jan. 15, said the software has had problems breaking that the vendor has said cannot be fixed.

That has cost the district hundreds of hours of work in rebuilding records, Chief Financial Officer Gary Holland said.

The district has been researching web-based payment systems since 2016 and has selected KEVGroup’s School Cash Suite as the platform to use. It would be used to pay school fees and accept tax credit donations. However, it would not handle cafeteria payments, which will continue as before.

Weston said the district believes parents will like the convenience of using the online system, and going cashless has savings in fees and decreases chances for fraud.

The district also could realize savings in areas such as having to have fewer armored car pickups of cash, though some pickups must continue to handle cafeteria cash.

The program also integrates with the district’s Student Information System, which Bluebar does not. This will help assure students get charged the right fees for their class schedule. The system also will give parents and clubs real-time data on their accounts. Clubs, for example, do not have access to their activity records at present but will with the new system.

The district hopes to have the system live by May.

Other board items

  • Amy Kaylor, who has been the governing board’s vice president the past two years, was elected by the board to be its president for the coming year. Kristina Reese, the president for the past three years, will take up Kaylor’s former position as vice president.

  • The board rejected on a 3-2 vote a field trip for the Sossaman Middle School advanced fine arts students to attend a Disney Workshops event in Anaheim, California, specific to their class. The objection was not to the field trip, but to 40 extra chaperones for the 131-student trip.

The district is paying for clearances for 15 staff members and 12 chaperones for the trip, while the additional 40 chaperones’ clearances were to come from the school’s parent-teacher-student organization. The students and chaperones are bearing the $61,765 cost for the registrations, transportation, lodging and meals for the trip, according to district documents.

Reese pulled the item from the consent agenda. She said she supported the trip but was concerned about the district taking on the liability of the extra chaperones. Reese, Kaylor and Greg Wojtovich voted against the trip as constituted.

Board members Scott Glover and Jill Wilson voted for the trip, saying they wanted to encourage parent involvement at an age where students will soon not want their parents with them on such trips.

Board members noted that the group still had time to get approval from the board before going on the trip, which is scheduled for Feb. 28-March 1.
By Tom Blodgett

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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