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PTA pizza/hot dog program- does your school do this?

rHi Everyone- I run our weekly pizza program and bi-weekly hot dog program. I make spinach salads, cut fruit, make smoothies for the pizza program, and then do fruit for the hot dog day as well.

My question is...hot dog day has run smoothly - cash only. Pizza day is having problems- we sell pizza cards at $22.00 and also take cash. We allow IOUS- if only because you don't want to say no to a kid...but it is out of control.

We have the teachers take orders on Monday- or Tuesday and we order Tuesday afternoon for Wednesday service- usually order between 28 to 34 pies a week.

Anyone have a good idea on how to curtail IOUs, or how to get a kid to pay up? We have considered when taking the class orders- to mark a sheet with each kids name (too time consuming), to hand out laminated cards with slices ordered to show they paid (we think they'll lose them from T to Wed), or last but not least- have me go class to class each week to do the order- and again use a tally sheet for each class...sometimes we have up to 4 pizzas left over....we have run out twice this past year, and we want to try and eliminate that problem too.

Any advice would be appreciated- or please just share your schools method! Suggestions welcomed!

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  1. Can you have them pre-pay and also accept payments by paypal?

    1. If you haven't already done so, ask the main office to send a letter home to parents from the PTA about supporting the pizza program with timely payment. IOU's can't sustain a program well and there is no reason to continue to accept late payment UNLESS you can work a monthly billing program out with your pizza suppliers.

      A friendly, appreciative but focused letter to parents is a good first step. Good luck.

      1. Is this elementary school you're describing?

        My own school district introduced a pre-pay system for the school lunch program. The first year it ended up in the red with quite a few kids (parents) owing $$$ because of IOU's but the second year is running more smoothly as everyone gets used to it I believe. It is an electronic system and works this way:
        1. Parents deposit $$$ (normally around $25) into the childs account via an online system.
        2. Kid swipe their Student ID's at the lunch register & the cost of lunch is debited against their account.
        3. Kids get lunch
        4. Monthly reminders are posted in the school bulletins for parents to check the balance of the accounts and top up as required.
        5. No funds = no lunch. This sounds harsh but the kids quickly caught on.

        This is for a middle school, but the elementary's use the same system. The only difference is the person on the lunch register at the elementary school knows all the kids names and can quickly look them up on a master list and key their ID code into the same system. The school office has a *picnic* box for kids with empty accounts or forgot their lunch.

        The laminated card system could work with some thought. Have the teachers take the class order and tally the numbers for you. The students that have ordered could have their names written on the laminated cards with a sharpie and held by the teacher until Wednesday, then handed out right before lunch. The kids would hand their card over to the person serving. Someone could then clean them off ready to use the next week.

        As for the IOU's, letters home is the only way to go.
        (Sorry this is longer than I intended.)

        3 Replies
        1. re: toastnjam

          Thank you all for the replys.

          We are a elementary school- with a total population of 225. We have no electronic accounts or I would assume, the ability to get one.

          We run this program with myself working each week, and then 3 other Moms coming to help set up and serve, so any work done on this would be donbe by me- so I really need the easiest way- and the pre-pay seems the best route, to me...we'll see how it goes over in our before school meeting.

          IOUS are a pain, but it got to the point, when the kids said they had no money- I asked what they thought their Mothers thought they were doing for lunch? Turns out most of them had a lunch- they just chose to IOU a lunch instead- so NO MORE this upcoming year.

          I appreciate your replys and will be using them to help my cause when we start up again at the end of August!

          1. re: JalamaMama

            Again, good luck JalamaM. A props to you & your group for volunteering to run a PTA program. I hope you're appreciated!

            1. re: JalamaMama

              At our school if a child doesn't have money for lunch they eat cold cereal from the free breakfast program. No one goes hungry and the kids learn much quicker to remember their $$ (or eat the lunch they were sent with!)

          2. At my current school we only have special lunch days once a month. Orders have to be placed, and paid for, a week in advance. Students usually get some choice (toppings on pizza, sandwiches, pitas, burgers, etc.), so they have to pay in advance when they order.

            I also worked at a school that did special lunches every week. They sent home an order form in the last week of the previous month, and orders were due (along with all payments) before the last day of the month.

            As both a student and a teacher, I have never been to a school that allowed IOUs. I know it's hard to say no to kids, but a big part of school is learning organizational skills and personal responsibility, as well as money management. Students need to learn to take notices home, give them to their parents, and remind their parents of due dates. As well, students need to learn that they can't always get what they want, and sometimes families just can't afford a pizza lunch.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jetgirly

              great advice- works well with 4-8th grade..but my 1st 2nd and 3rd graders really have a tough time understanding no $$ no pizza....I look forward to trying new ideas next year!

              1. At my kids' school we have to prepay for pizza lunch one term at a time. Seems to work pretty well.

                1 Reply
                1. re: maple99

                  YOU ALL ROCK!

                  Thanks for taking the time to respond! Yes- I am appreciated- but I don't do it for the THANK YOUS- I do it for the kid who would otherwise never get the smoothie- I do it for the kids who get so excited for the hot dog day, and for the fact that someone someday will hopefully repeat what I have done for their kids...my Mom did it for my school!!

                  I am going to print this and discuss with our PTA.

                  The IOU thing....it is hard to say no, and it is entirely my fault it got out of control. No more next year. Prepay seems the way to go.