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Parents can track kids' eating habits at school

August 30, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE

Watch out, kids. Soon parents will be able to find out what food you're buying in the cafeteria.

Washington County Public Schools are getting a new food service management system this school year that will allow parents to know what food their children are buying and its nutritional value, the supervisor of food and nutrition services said.

The Board of Education unanimously approved a contract with Nutrikids at Tuesday's meeting.

The software system will integrate several tasks now handled by multiple systems, and provide some new services, said Jeffrey M. Proulx, supervisor of food and nutrition services.

Among the new services will be one that allows parents to view a 30-day history of what their child is buying and its nutritional value, Proulx said.

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Because student IDs will be used for the transactions, the service will be available whether students pay with cash or through a debit account, Proulx wrote in an e-mail to The Herald-Mail.

The new software system will be phased in by the end of the school year, Proulx said Thursday.

The service that allows parents to track their child's food-purchasing habits is expected to be installed during the winter, he said.

The new system will have a new cash register system, and a more efficient ordering system that takes inventory into account, Proulx said.

The contract with Nutrikids costs $79,982 for the first year, in which the software is purchased, according to Proulx and presentation documents.

The arrangement can be extended for four more years at a cost of $25,036 a year for support services and upgrades.

If the deal ends up going five years, it would cost $180,126.

Mi-Choice bid $108,346 and MCS bid $174,950 for the five-year plan, according to presentation documents.

Mi-Choice's bid did not include some of the components that Nutrikids offered, such as nutrient analysis. MCS' bid did not allow parents to pay via PayPal or Discover, and did not provide software for the free and reduced-cost meal plan program, according to presentation documents.

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