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Scituate schools to spend over $100,000 in switch to new technology system

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  December 30, 2011 11:48 AM

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The Scituate Public Schools will invest more than $100,000 in override money into a new technology system and data manager, a change that officials say will make student record-keeping and -sharing significantly more efficient.

The new software, called X2, was approved by School Committee members at their meeting last week, and will bring the town in line with Duxbury, Marshfield, and a host of other communities that already use the system.

Overall, the program will make small changes to the way student records are kept – such as assigning a specific number to every student rather than transferring their names from grade to grade. It will also allow parents, teachers, and students to coordinate online over class selection, record sharing, and transcript sending.

According to Paul Donlan, Director of Business and Finance for Scituate Public Schools, the package will cost $60,000-$70,000 for the initial conversion, with an additional $25,000 for accompanying package deals – such as scheduling packages.

Although the system servers will be stored at an off-site location, Scituate will hire a data manager to oversee the system and its implementation. The technician will cost $30,000 for the remainder of the current school year, and $60,000 per
year going forward.

Future expenses associated with the new system are still unknown, but may include data storage upgrades or encrypting costs. Even still, Donlan doesn’t expect those costs to be extensive.

“You may eventually have to pay a bit more a year, instead of $10 a year, it might be $11 a year per student. Two years down the road…I don’t know. I just know what we have to do eventually with all the data you got to keep,” Donlan said.

In the big picture, however, there would be costs associated with keeping the current system. Additionally, the school isn’t wedded to the company.

“We’re going with X2 for the foreseeable future and hopefully our current provider can step up, have more competition, and keep costs the same,” Donlan said.

In the meantime, everyone from guidance to school administrators are eager to switch programs.

Department heads, principals, and administrators were all on board with the switch prior to last week’s vote, and as a team, Scituate is “glad we’re doing it,” Donlan said.

“The guidance people are just ready to jump now,” Donlan said. “Before with the transcripts you had to certify them and do all this stuff. The guidance people are thinking this [new system] will be a lot more efficient.”

Scituate will sign a contract with the company in upcoming weeks, and begin migrating the data to the new system soon thereafter.

According to Donlan, it’s a four-month process where the new system will run side by side with the old system.

“They will convert the data at different points in time and fix it [as we go along]…we’re hoping that we’re up and running July 1, 2012,” he said.

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