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Federal Way schools approve new student info system

The Federal Way School Board approved the purchase of a new student information system Aug. 28, initiating a much needed replacement of the current system that was originally developed in 1999.

The system helps the school district manage and organize student data such as grades, demographics, schedules, immunizations and attendance.

The costs of the purchase, implementation and training for the new system will be covered from the district's current six-year technology levy. The one-time licensing cost for the software is $131,940, while the ongoing maintenance costs that will be associated with the software are expected to be $81,711, according to FWPS.

The need for this replacement is pretty glaring, according to Sally McLean, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. She cited the drastic change in technology that's taken place in the 13 years since the current system was implemented in the district.

"If you think in terms of personal technology, or think of something as easy as a car…the kinds of options that a car had in 1999, and the kinds of options that cars have now in 2012, are dramatically different," McLean said.

"Cars didn't come with standard power windows in 1999. Certainly, there was no way to put your bluetooth through your radio, and Siri didn't exist."

Another motivating factor for the replacement, McLean said, is the fact that the current software's producer has informed customers that it will no longer provide upgrades. McLean reviewed the district's process process since a Request for Proposals (RFP) was sent out in March, saying five responses were received. The district reviewed those responses, picked two, and invited those top two software vendors to the district for demonstrations.

With permission from the board in July, the district began negotiations with Edupoint Education Systems LLC.

According to McLean, Edupoint's software supports data for 2 million students nationwide, is installed in over 200 districts across the country, and at the time of the RFP response earlier this year, was operational in 10 states.

McLean said FWPS was also impressed with Edupoint's philosophy of being a "partner for life" with districts that choose their software system.

McLean said a couple of teams are already assembled to begin working on the transition for this new system, and indicated the district hopes to have the new system live by Aug. 1, 2013.

 

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