Bexley News

Online fee payment

District signs on for credit payment service


Bexley parents soon will join the ranks of those who not only do their banking online, but can pay for their children's lunches, student fees and even yearbooks electronically.

Chris Essman, treasurer for the Bexley City School District, said the added convenience of online bill paying at school is a win-win for both the district and parents.

"It's something the parents have been asking for," he said last week. "We've been talking about this for almost two years."

The option could be up and running as early as the spring.

Board members gave unanimous approval Feb. 10 for entering into a contract with Cincinnati-based Information Design Inc., paving the way for the new online feature.

"Most people use credit cards all the time," said Essman, "and find it much easier."

Information Design operates a service called EZpay that was developed to allow school districts to have a single "payment portal" enabling parents to pay any and all school-related fees electronically.

Essman said the Upper Arlington City School District and Grandview Heights City Schools both use the service and gave the company rave reviews.

When Bexley brought up the topic of security following recent credit-card breaches involving some major national retailers, Information Design assured the district that student and parent information is well-protected.

Essman pointed out that most consumers take these risks every day and continue to use credit cards on a regular basis.

The new service adds convenience to parents' bill paying, said Essman, providing one-stop shopping.

Board member Mike Denison agreed that young children often cannot be trusted with large amounts of money when parents are trying to add payments to lunch accounts at school.

Essman said the new service also will mean less cash on hand at schools -- a plus for those trying to keep track of it all -- and parents can add to some of the perks or points they already enjoy when using credit cards.

"By far, EZpay was the easiest and the most convenient," he said.

The district hopes to have an icon prominently displayed on the district website. After clicking on the icon, parents will be asked to fill out a registration form in order to add individual students to an account.

Each transaction, which may include multiple payments to multiple accounts, will cost parents and guardians $2 a visit.

Initial set-up by Information Design will cost the district $495, with a $350 yearly support fee for each year it uses the service.

Check payments still will be accepted at any of Bexley's schools, Essman said. Cash also remains an option, but credit cards cannot be accepted at school, only online.

Now that the school board has approved the contract, Essman said he will meet with the company to talk about set-up and installation.