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One Call Now Notification System Puts An End To Lunch Shaming

Photo of a stack of red lunch trays in a cafeteria
Category - Education
by Hillary Bowling on May 18th, 2018

The Hayward Unified School District, with more than 20,000 students in 31 schools in San Francisco’s East Bay, knew it needed a new approach to notifying families about owed balances for school lunches.

The district used mailed notices to notify families to apply for free and reduced-price lunches or to pay outstanding balances. In some cases, cafeteria workers would tell students in line that they owed money. This created privacy issues and could embarrass students, especially if their peers overheard the conversations.
At the end of the school year, the district faced large balances for unpaid lunches.

Using the One Call Now notification system, the district has simplified processes, reduced the amount of staff time spent on the process, and lowered the year-end losses.

The One Call Now process uses phone calls and, to a lesser extent, emails to families with overdue accounts. The district sends out about 1,100 notifications every two weeks. With a student body that is 65 percent Hispanic or Latino, the district opted to send notifications in English and Spanish.

The One Call Now system uses an automated query of the district’s food services department’s billing and payment server. In its first year, the district saved thousands of dollars that could be allocated to other purposes.

To learn more about the One Call Now system and see how the district leveraged the technology to save money and put an end to lunch shaming, click here.