LAND O' LAKES — While much of the consumer world entered the land of credit cards, debit cards and online purchases long ago, parents doing business with Pasco County schools for the most part had to rely on cash, checks and in-person payment.
That could soon change.
With the start of the new school year Monday, Wiregrass Ranch High School is piloting a program called My Student Store that will allow parents and students to use plastic when they pay athletic fees, buy prom tickets or make other school-related purchases. The purchases can be made online.
“The Wiregrass staff is excited,” Ray Bonti, the district's executive director for support services, told the school board last week. “Parents are going to see it as a consumer-friendly type of opportunity.”
Once the system is tested at Wiregrass, and any kinks worked out, the plan could expand to other schools, Bonti said.
The program is operated by the same company that provides the My Lunch Money program, which already allows parents to go online and add money to a student's meal account, Bonti said.
Several companies provide similar services, he said. The district also may explore using a company called SchoolPay to pilot a program at a handful of other schools.
Board member Allen Altman, who expressed eagerness to expand the system as quickly as possible beyond Wiregrass, called the online-purchase program “long overdue.”