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School district passes on $2 lunch money fee to parents

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- The Sioux Falls school district is charging parents a $2 convenience fee to pay for lunches online after widespread use strained its food services budget.

SIOUX FALLS (AP) - The Sioux Falls school district is charging parents a $2 convenience fee to pay for lunches online after widespread use strained its food services budget.

The district said it could have continued to absorb the credit card processing fees this year, but only if lunch prices increased by 10 cents, the Argus Leader reported.

"Do you want to charge everyone?" business manager Todd Vik said. "Or do you want to charge the individuals using the convenience?"

The district contracted a New Jersey-based credit card processing company three years ago and intended to absorb the processing fees, but they quickly became too expensive, increasing by about $20,000 a year.

Vik said the district held off as long as it could from passing along the fees to families.

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Not all parents agree with the move, including Joe Pascoe, who said he worries about how it may affect low-income families.

"I think it really hurts the people who can afford it the least," Pascoe said. "It hits them the hardest."

Vik said parents shouldn't be surprised by the fees. Letters detailing the change were available during school orientation activities, as well as sent home with students. He added that the fees are also "100 percent avoidable" as parents can send lunch money via check or cash.

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