Locals requested an easier way to donate after learning that local families owed nearly $27,000 for school meals

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - Crook County School District

The Crook County School District has made it easier to donate money to school meal accounts.

"The district needed a way for donors to make quick and easy donations using a credit or debit card that wouldn't require them to set up a user account," explained CCSD Director of Business and Finance Anna Logan.

A "Donate" button was added to the web pages for each of the district's sites on Aug. 14 after community members requested a way to make online donations.

The requests came about after locals learned that families owed the school district nearly $27,000 for student meals. The district continues to provide meals to students even if they have a negative meal account balance.

Several community members called the district office to make financial donations, and several families have paid their debts over the summer. On Monday, Logan said the meal debt was down to $18,742.02.

"During registration, some families have made deposits in person," Logan said, adding that parents and guardians can always use the online system, which is separate from the new donation link, to make deposits and pay unpaid meal charges.

Now, not only can people donate to student meal accounts from the district website, they may also select other options, such as sports fees and school supplies.

"The choices can be modified and will change over time," Logan said. "We started out with the common donation types that we currently receive."

To make a tax-deductible donation, visit one of the school district's websites and click the large blue and gold "DONATE" button on the top right side of the page.

Donors will be asked to provide their contact information and select Crook County High School, Crook County Middle School or Crook County School District. From there, they can choose the programs or causes they'd like to support.

Items range from student meals and school supplies to sports participation fees and the senior all-night party. Donors may also select to donate to a specific sport or activity. They then type in a dollar amount and add their debit or credit card information.

The software does not store payment information and does not have the capability for recurring donations.

In adding the donation link, Logan said district officials also wanted to find an acceptable way for district staff to do crowd-funding campaigns.

"I will be communicating with staff after school starts to let them know that we now have an option for crowd-funding," she said.

Logan said the district currently uses a receipting software that has an online component, and the software company recently added a new module that the district can use for donations without requiring a user account.

"This makes it fast and easy for donors," Logan pointed out.

Once the district created the items in the new module, they provided a link in the form of a "Donate" button on the websites. This new feature is not an additional cost to the district and is included in the software licensing for the system they already use.

"This new donation site is exciting because it fixes some unfilled needs that we have been pondering for some time," Logan said. "We have been looking for a solution like this that doesn't cost the district a lot of money because the objective is to generate income."

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