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Schools may change student info system

by Tim Troglen | reporter Published: February 17, 2013 12:00 AM

Hudson -- The district is looking at options to replace its current student information system.

"A student information system is a data tracking software used to report to the state and generate information for use by district personnel," Doreen Osmun, director of curriculum and instruction told the Board of Education Feb. 11 during a presentation on the potential change.

However, the new system being considered, SunGard, could initially cost between $150,000 and $280,000 to operate, according to Assistant Superintendent Phil Herman.

"There is a large investment up front," Herman said.

The cost difference would be in hosting, training and storage, Herman said.

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Herman said after the initial investment, the annual cost would drop to between $95,000 and $124,000, depending on whether the system is hosted on site.

The final cost is still being discussed, Herman said.

The current system costs $90,000 annually, but no longer meets the need of the district, according Herman.

"It's not really coming close," Herman said. "We've been with our current system since 1989, with one update in 2000 -- these aren't systems that you change a lot because they affect every component of your operation."

In September, a focus group made up of district staff members began researching ways the district could switch from the current program, ADM 2000, to a newer, more dynamic system, Herman said.

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"Our main priority was on putting data in hands of those who need it the most," Herman said. "The goal was to find the one who would do that the best."

The student information system contains not only student data, but all district data, including grades, salaries, assignments and licensing information, Osmun said.

"Anything that has to do with students and Hudson City Schools sits in that data hub," Osmun said.

The current data hub has worked well to store data, but is not as dynamic as it should be, Osmun said.

"You cannot move the data around," Osmun said of the current system. "There are some limitations."

The district needs to be able to not only look at the stored data, but use it a variety of ways which cuts down on redundancy and will increase efficiency and opportunities to improve student learning, Osmun said.

A new system would also allow efficiencies across the three district houses, used for a variety of personnel and help with potential consolidation and cross-training of staffers, Osmun said.

Some teachers are adding the same data at least five times a year to file various reports, Osmun said.

The system being considered would be fully interactive, with changes to one category showing consequential changes in other areas, according to Herman. Teachers, parents and students would have access to only the allotted information pertaining to their need, Herman said. Information would be password protected.

The committee researched other districts, checked with providers and in January sat through all-day presentations or the various systems before deciding on one from a list of three, Herman said.

The new system would also assist in keeping track of district finances.

The SunGard system is more up to date in the management of fixed assets, benefits, budgets and purchases, according to Treasurer Kathryn Sines.

Herman hopes to bring a recommendation to the Board at the Feb. 26 meeting, he said.

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9435

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