Author Bio: Jay D. Bass, Ed.D., President Payment Partners, Inc. and Pay4schoolstuffonline. Jay has completed a successful career over three decades in public education in classroom instruction, counseling and school and district leadership positions. He has been a national trainer for parents and school personnel on a variety of topics, taught graduate school as an adjunct university professor, and has served as coach and PTA executive while raising three children. His experience as a leader in schools, as a parent, and in working in various community organizations has provided ample background for understanding the payment and information management needs of schools and parent and community organizations.
In the current climate of decreased school funding and increased accountability for student achievement, classroom teachers are caught between a rock and a hard place in many instances. Faced with multiple student and family issues, growing pressure to help students learn and meet state and district standards, and contract and budget concerns, stresses on teachers continue to mount. Compounding these stressors is the crunch for instructional time to meet curriculum goals and benchmarks, which are further squeezed by the myriad of responsibilities for the classroom teacher at all grade levels. These responsibilities routinely including the collection of paper forms and payments by check for test fees, field trip registrations, fundraising initiatives, emergency information, etc.
The harsh reality for parents (and school staff) in public (and private) schools is that education is not free1. The collections of fees by schools, to say nothing of the necessity for parents to pay for school supplies, activity and extracurricular fees, fines and other monies are an integral part of school district and family budgets and obligations. School districts and teachers’ unions are now including language in their contracts which directly address the involvement of teachers in fee collections2. And in some districts, the need to include fee collections in the amount of money a school district budgets for teacher hiring and other revenue projections results in the hiring of collection agencies for this purpose, as well as lower performance at school events so that parents can avoid the hassle of fee collections3.
Payment Partners, Inc. (PPI) was formed in 2008 in order to address a glaring need for a secure, comprehensive online organizational payment and information management solution for leaders and members of community organizations. Based in the Washington, DC area, Jay Bass (President) and Don Segal (Chief Operating Officer) established PPI with the mission of developing innovative web-based portals that allow community organization leaders and their families an efficient way to control and customize both their payment needs AND their information collection. As such, Payment PartnershipTM solutions allow leaders of many groups affiliated with an organization to conveniently list and sell virtually any type of item—on one menu, with a small processing fee applied—AND create forms and collect information in free items to eliminate paper submission and allow schools and parent groups to go completely “green.”
Pay4SchoolStuff, PPI’s flagship offering, has rapidly grown in popularity and, as of August, 2013, is used by more than 110,000 school, parent and community organization end-users in 10 states.
The design of Pay4SchoolStuff is envisioned as a way to allow leaders of schools and related parent organizations to take better control of their management responsibilities by devoting more time to instructional planning activities and working with parents and school staff instead of tedious paper collection and check handling; providing school staff more time to teach; lessening the burden on volunteers; letting children learn instead of being fee and form messengers; and offering parents the convenience and efficiency of an organized, secure, online payment solution, available anytime. Visit Pay4SchoolStuff.com to learn more.
1 “Not free after all. Public school fees add up.” http://www.cnbc.com/id/100942455
2 Hillsborough County, FL School District contract, including provisions, Section 3.18, for teacher guidelines for collecting money http://www.nctq.org/docs/8.pdf
3 “Need for collection agency to collect unpaid student fees in Des Moines public schools,” http://www.norwalk.k12.ia.us/attachments/981_STUDENT%20FEE%20COLLECTION%20SERVICES%2007-17-09.pdf