Hidden fee for online school payments a ‘shock’ to some GTA parents

I am so angry I don’t even know where to start with this article. Schools are trying to fill the gap for the lack of social supports in the community and charging parents fees for their children to attend school or asking parents to fundraise to support school programs. Schools and education are an investment in our future. Everyone’s future, not just the children attending school. Do Canadians not realize this? Click here to read the full article which I strongly recommend or an excerpt below.

 

Joshua Shuval, director of operations and risk management with the KEV Group, which created School Cash Online, said the cost of the product is confidential. Shuval said it’s up to each individual board as to how they want to pay for the service.

“In Ontario, KEV charges a flat annual fee calculated based on School Generated Fund volumes. In no case does KEV charge any transactional fee to parents. However, our software does allow the school board, at its discretion, to charge and collect fees to offset its costs,” he said.

The Peel District School Board, which is piloting the service, said it is paying $20,000 a year for the cost of the software. The cost is based on an agreement set up by ECNO “which is standard for all school boards who are part of the contract,” said Kayla Tishcoff, communications officer with the board.

Peel said the fees are broken down into two: a 2-per-cent transactional fee that is set and charged by credit card providers, and a fee of less than 1 per cent that covers “the administrative cost of School Cash Online” and includes the “cost for the company to provide a 24-hour help line and an online portal for parents and teachers.”

Tishcoff said “the fee is so small that it will only slightly affect the cost, or not at all.”

The fee is not applied to external charitable donations, like the Terry Fox Run, said Tishcoff. And it also can differ, if parents choose to use e-cheque or Interac options.

On an information sheet posted online last year, the Halton Catholic board said it paid an annual software licensing fee of $20,000, a maintenance fee of $9,000 and training costs for all schools of approximately $6,000 for each phase of implementation.

Some boards like the Toronto District School Board and the Durham District School Board plan on absorbing the one per cent administrative fee without charging parents extra. The Toronto board said when the product is rolled out to all of its 588 school in two years, its licensing fees will be around $300,000.

In the meantime, the Toronto board is absorbing all operational costs, said Bird. But the online transactions will still be subjected to the 2 per cent credit card fee — as will purchases made through cash and cheque, he said. The board plans to tell parents about all potential fees as they are rolled out to schools, he said.

 

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