Mayfield is in its second month (September 2016) using Kinderlime afterschool software for its Extended Care program and it’s working so well! We’ve had a great parent response and the staff loves it.
Mayfield’s Extended Care program is a drop-in after-school program for students in our K – 8 school. Prior to Kinderlime, we used a custom-made application to fit our unique billing rates.
We wanted to move to Kinderlime to achieve these two critical advantages:
- Digitized sign-in and sign-out. We wanted this to be done electronically and captured automatically. This was manual in our old system, requiring transcription, which was time-consuming, and error prone.
- Easy online parent payment, via EFT and/or credit card. Kinderlime lets the parent pay a portion of the balance or the entire balance. When the parent receives their statement, there is a Pay Now button – easy for parents and encourages them to pay promptly, which is important to us as we bill at the end of each month.
While Kinderlime was a cloud-based system, we needed some modifications to make it work for us. We needed the system to allow Mayfield to absorb credit card and transaction fees and to have reliable accounting reports to monitor parent billing and payments. Luckily for us, Kinderlime saw these changes as beneficial to other users and was willing to make them. And they were willing to get them done so that we could begin our new school year with a new system! We were willing to compromise too. We changed our billing to a simple hourly rate, which we now see as an advantage, and have opted to use a discounted rate for Faculty and Financial Aid students rather than take the extra effort to apply monthly credits.
The process of getting started with Kinderlime was easy. We had a month free trial period which we used for testing and training. Kinderlime also uploaded our 500+ students during this trial from a simple excel file we provided.
We used Kinderlime’s help text and our own research and screen prints to develop guides for our parents and staff. A parent email went out with our weekly Maywire announcing the system with brief instructions on using the new system and a link to the guide.
Our biggest worry was how parents would react to having to remember a 4-digit pin code required for student sign-in/out, but this has not been an issue. Parents seem able to remember the pins; and staff are always on hand to provide them if necessary. Parents really like the automated sign-in/out procedure and that they have detailed attendance information on their computer dashboard and mobile device.
We choose to send monthly statements rather than invoices, so parents always see the total amount due. Parents got their first statements in August, which included details of August billing and, in some cases, a prior balance from our previous system. We did the August invoicing on the first of September using the bulk process, added adjustments to select accounts for late fees and credits, and then created and emailed statements, again using the bulk process. All electronic with no paper! We received many of our first payments the same day.
We are now approaching our second month and have Back-to-School night where we will provide student care (along with pizza and drinks). We created a separate room to capture and report attendance for this event separately. We also have a separate room for Enrichment Classes. Having separate rooms allows us to track and evaluate attendance for these events.
The Business Office uses the family billing reports to record monthly charges and payments and accrue the accounts receivable balance. The Extended Care staff follows up with parents as needed. We are finding that parents are paying more promptly by being able to pay via their phone when they get their statement. A definite added plus!