Muscogee County Board examines hidden school lunch fees - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Muscogee County Board examines hidden school lunch fees

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

If you're a Muscogee County parent and you've paid for school lunches online, you may have noticed the $2.50 convenience fee added to your bill.  

But the extra charges aren't sitting well with board members.

The processing fees for using your card to pay bills online may be small, but they can add up.  

Banks and credit cards make their profits from these charges, which are usually charged to retailers- not customers.  

Banks expressly forbid the companies who sell you products from charging an extra fee if you're paying with plastic, but departments within government, like school districts, get a special exception.  

The Muscogee County School District just contracted two new web sites that give parents the option to pay for activity fees and lunches from their computer, but it will cost them $2.50 every time they use it.    

"We think that's too much so we're trying to get that fee down or see how we can even eliminate the fee. Ideally, we don't want parents to pay fees.  Ideally, that's what we want.  Right now, either the parent pays or the district pays," said District Four representative, Naomi Buckner.

Board members are hoping to get an update on that issue at their next meeting.  

Also on the agenda was the superintendent's new assistant.  The board will vote next week on whether to hire Rebecca Braaten to the position which pays $122,500 a year.   She comes from the same district in Florida as the current superintendent, David Lewis, and she has worked with him for twelve years.

"I know it's been budgeted in the past for more money than we are currently looking at this point.   This person has a track record of performance, that I already know, so the track record is there versus the unknown," said Lewis. 

Superintendent Lewis said he didn't hold interviews for the position because he didn't want to be disingenuous, asking people to apply to a job for which he already had someone in mind.  He said it's in the best interest of the district that he get this position filled as quickly as possible.

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