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SACS learns about high-tech lunch tracking system

Next school year could bring a high-tech system for tracking Southwest Allen County School lunches, board members learned Tuesday.

A biometric scanning system designed to read fingerprints would be installed by identiMetrics, a company in Pennsylvania, said Jim Coplen, Southwest Allen's business manager.

IdentiMetrics has been assisting schools with implementing finger scanning identification since 2002, according to the company's website.

The system works by taking a fingerprint and identifying several major markers from the print. Those markers are then converted to a number, which is linked to the students' identification number.

Coplen said it would not be possible to determine a student's identity by reversing the process, therefore eliminating privacy concerns. Parents would also be given the option to opt-out of the program, he said.

The district would pay $32,314 to install devices in all cafeterias. That amount would be paid for through the food-service fund.

Coplen said some Northwest Allen County Schools already have the system in place and gave it good reviews.

The system at Southwest Allen would start with the food-service department but could later expand to include buses and classrooms – allowing the district to track where students are at all times, Coplen said. If the district later decides to add units to buses, classrooms or other areas, each unit would cost $789.

If the purchase is approved by the board in the coming month, Coplen said he would like to get the system up and running before students return to class in the fall.