Lunch Accounts in Haverford School District Part II

In Part I of this post, we discussed the viral FB post about school lunches and introduced the subject of the Haverford School District lunch system. Please see Part I before continuing on.

Sending in lunch money with kids can be problematic. The Director emphasized using would help the confusion that comes with sending in cash with your kids. The implementation of the online account system at is meant to reduce the need for the child to handle cash and for the families to be able to contribute to the account remotely. This supposedly cuts down on confusion, bullying, kids’ and parents’ stress of keeping track of money, etc.

I’m all for making things automated and convenient, but I have to say so far isn’t as good as I’d like. Here are a few of the many complaints (and following explanations) I’ve had or I’ve heard about myschoolaccount:

screenshot of myschoolaccount website

Haverford School District uses

  1. It is nearly impossible to track and/or fix inaccurate billing
  2. The processing fees are high and a waste of money
  3. There’s no convenient way to retrieve money placed in the account
  4. Password problems. The site doesn’t seem to ever want to set a cookie in my browser, so I’m forced to reset my password often
  5. Children spending too much per meal
  6. No receipts given to the children
  7. Not enough detail on the record (what meals eaten, what snacks, etc.)
  8. No private or automated way to ban snacks or certain meals.

1. Here’s the basic reason why any HSD cafeteria billing inaccuracies are darn near impossible to fix: Everyone assumes children lie (or aren’t capable of remembering things correctly). Here’s the common scenario: Child is billed for two meals in one day. No receipt is handed to the child immediately. Parent notices the lunch money has dwindled too quickly. She tries to suss through ambiguous billing terms on like “platter” or “snack.” Child insists he did nothing wrong, says it was a mistake on the part of the cashier. Parent calls the district. District denies all wrongdoing, says the child is most probably “misremembering” buying two meals, probably one sneakily for a friend. District refuses to refund any money. Parent goes back to cash-only or strictly packing lunch.

2. The processing fees, $1.95 per transfer, ad up and they are annoying. Less annoying would be to send in cash, even if doing so means one would potentially lose more money than the sum of the processing fees for the entire year.

3. The money left over in the account can be transferred between students in the same district. The money also carries over for the next year. One must deal with the school district’s food services office to get a reimbursement when all students have graduated.

4. Password problems are end-user problems, but a barrier nonetheless. A necessary annoyance, yes, but put this one on the stack of annoyances.

5. Children don’t get a great sense of what things cost when they have expense accounts.

6. Children don’t have a way to double-check the receipt while the transaction is fresh. Smaller kids won’t know how to do this, but definitely older kids do.

7. Meals and snacks are not itemized on No details are given, just generic terms, making it difficult to know what one’s child bought.

8. Banning treats is a common disciplinary tool for many parents, but banning snacks in the HSD food system is a cumbersome and semi-public process. One must call the food department personally, prove that you are the parent/guardian of said child, and then ask the staff member to place a warning/ban on your child’s account screen. (Call 610-853-6867 ext. 5523 and ask for the note to be placed on your child’s account if you’d like a snack ban. Not sure if they’d be too thrilled with you if you did this week by week).

What experiences have you had with the school cafeteria system? Do you use myschoolaccount? Let us know in the comments.



  1. […] In Part II of this post, we’ll talk about and the problems some of the parents have been experiencing with the system. You can add your own stories in the comments there. Please see Part II. […]