Case Study: Cost Savings and Boosted Efficiency for Ohio K-12 District
Westerville City School District (WCSD) is one of distinction in the state of Ohio; it is the 12th largest district in the state, educating 15,500 K-12 students across 22 schools.
WCSD also has a mountain of accolades and a reputation for excellence. The district has a long history of being identified as a high-performing school district by the Ohio Department of Education.
Even Newsweek Magazine identified all three district high schools as among the best in the country.
The performance of their students shows just how hard they work to cultivate a culture of excellence.
According to the WCSD site, students who graduated in 2019 earned more than $25 million in scholarship offers. On top of that, more than 70% of Westerville City School District graduates pursue post-secondary education at colleges and universities around the world or enter the military.
Wanda Myers is the Child Nutrition Secretary for WCSD and was managing all aspects of the Free and Reduced program applications manually.
The system was not internet-based, forcing Myers and her team to use a manual import and export system every day.
Because of the manual operations, any changes in a student’s Free and Reduced status were not received until the next day, causing a delay in offering Free and Reduced meals to students.
Secretaries were forced to manually process applications, send them in for review, wait for approval, and then put the data into the point of sale system by hand.
On top of all of the delays, the system was not user-friendly, and customer support became “pretty much non-existent,” according to Myers.
Westerville City Schools was seeking a meals management system that would boost the efficiency of their Free and Reduced program and needed it to meet the following requirements:
- They required a system with a centralized database and real-time data updates.
- They needed a system that had internet connectivity to efficiently integrate their student information with their point of sale system.
- They were also in need of a support staff that is readily available and knowledgeable to assist them with any technical issues quickly.
MealsPlus met all of the Westerville City Schools requirements and exceeded their expectations in the process. Let’s take a look at what happened once the software was implemented.
With a smooth transition into using the MealsPlus system, the benefits of implementing an internet-based cafeteria management solution was instantly clear.
WCSD experienced a rapid turnaround of applications. Once the information was imported and processed into the MealsPlus system, students received their Free and Reduced meals immediately.
The efficiency of the MealsPlus system also saved Westerville City Schools money on several different fronts. Here’s how:
- Printing costs associated with paper applications decreased with the arrival of the online system.
- Both money and time were saved in the field of secretary involvement, with the MealsPlus system automatically processing the applications secretaries previously labored over.
Myers said that the cost savings to the districts has been one of the best perks of implementing the MealsPlus school meals management software.
“One of the biggest improvements I’ve seen since implementing MealsPlus is the cost savings to the district in the amount of overtime hours required at the start of the school for processing free and reduced lunch.”
The system also expedited the process of requiring new applications from households.
The robust reporting provided by MealPlus allows Myers and her staff to generate a report using the expiration date for applications.
With a few clicks they easily generated letters to parents notifying them that a new application must be submitted.
After the 30-day grace period for students, only a small percentage of new applications still needed to be submitted by parents.
Is your meals management software making your job more difficult?
Whether you work from the district office or right in the heart of the school cafeteria, putting up with inefficient processes or insufficient software simply makes your job harder.
If you and your staff struggle to efficiently manage the aspects of your school’s meals program, consider the following:
- Do you have to enter application information manually?
- Are you relying on paper applications?
- Is staff working overtime to update information?
- Are students missing their Free and Reduced meals due to delays in updated information?
- Does your POS system communicate with the Student Information System?
If you answered “yes” to any of the those questions, it’s time to search for a school meals management software that’s right for your program.
Now it’s your turn! Is your meals management software up to snuff? Tell us about it in the comments below.