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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Parents and students at U.S. military schools in South Korea soon will be using the same automated school meal payment system used in Japan and on Okinawa, officials said Wednesday.

The program is to be in operation by month’s end, said Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials. AAFES and the Department of Defense Dependents Schools are operating the new payment system.

Students will punch in a personal identification number at cafeteria stations instead of handing over paper tickets. The accounts can be managed by parents at their post exchange or the school cafeteria.

“The computerized school meal payment system offers many conveniences for our customers,” Doug Woodhouse, AAFES Pacific Region Food Manager, said in an AAFES release.

“Parents will no longer need to purchase paper coupons and will be able control students’ accounts and provide oversight of their children’s spending.”

Students’ photos will be added to the accounts to ensure that only the correct students are using the system. The system also will allow parents to input any food allergies the student might have, with that information displayed on the cafeteria payment station.

Parents can track their students’ accounts at either the exchange or the school, officials said.

Parents may continue with the paper ticket system through the end of this school year, said Sgt. 1st Class Amanda Glenn, AAFES spokeswoman at the Pacific region headquarters on Okinawa.

But beginning next school year, the automated system will be mandatory, she said. Money not claimed at the end of each school year will remain in the student’s account for use during the next school year. Students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches must use the new AutoPay System, officials said.

DODDS schools in Japan and on Okinawa have been using the system since 2003, AAFES said.

Parents can begin signing up for the automated system at post exchanges on the following dates:

All Seoul American schools, Oct. 25Camp Humphreys Elementary, Oct. 27Osan American High School and Osan American Elementary, Oct. 28Camp George School, Nov. 3Camp Hialeah School, Nov. 5Before this school year began, AAFES announced its first price hike for lunches in nine years. The 10-cent increase was to cover rising food, labor and transportation costs, officials said.

AAFES School Meal Daily Menus are posted for review at www.aafes.com.

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