A Stress-Free Meal Application Solution for Alabama School DistrictFriday, October 26, 2018
For the Attalla City School District, helping students from low-income families apply for free or reduced meals by hand was an overwhelming process. “When the forms started trickling in, it was a nightmare,” said Child Nutrition Services (CNP) bookkeeper Jo Reed. The paper applications would often get lost, only to be discovered later, stuck at the bottom of a backpack.
With a median yearly household income of $31,457, about 70% of Attalla City School District’s elementary, middle, and high school students qualify for free or reduced school meals.
From “Tons of Paperwork” to Easy, Cloud-Based Processing
Before the school district began using StrataApps in 2015, teachers and students had to fill out over 1,100 applications by hand each year. Each school was responsible for getting their own applications and ensuring that they were completed and processed.
“It was just tons of paperwork,” said Reed, who is in charge of administering the program across the district. Now, she says, the application process is a breeze and, just as important, cost-effective. “I would say we saved just in labor hours from day one.”
The school district hands out information sheets at the beginning of the school year to remind students’ families of the process. The parents can then easily fill out the cloud-based application from a home computer. “We even set up help stations at all three schools so if they don’t have access to the internet, they can come here,” Reed said. “We have great participation.”
Meal Application Processing with Fewer Errors
Part of Reed’s job is going through applications to verify information before submitting them to the state for monthly reimbursement. StrataApps does not allow forms to be submitted until every field is complete, which reduces error and prompts administrators to fill in or update missing information. Instead of multiple reviews by the principal, assistant principal, and secretaries, the process is so streamlined that most applications take Reed and her team only seconds to review.
“It’s awesome. The school secretaries don’t have to touch it anymore, they think it’s the best thing.”
Reports that Provide a Pain-Free Audit Process
It’s not just the application process that has been streamlined. StrataApps also makes it easy to run reports, organize applications, and update student eligibility, making both city and state audits nearly effortless.
Reed says she would “definitely recommend” both StrataApps and Image One. “…from the very beginning, talking to the salesperson giving the demo, they’re awesome. They’re so helpful from top to bottom. You couldn’t ask for nicer people.”
We feel the same way about working with the Attalla City School District. And we are especially happy to hear that our products and services have helped take the work out of such an important program. To learn more about what StrataApps or other Image One solutions can do for your processes, click on the link below.
StrataApps by Image One is a cloud-based software solution which helps automate the processing of Free or Reduced Meal Applications. Learn more by visiting the StrataApps website.