School board to vote on purchase of $334,000 information system

Lawrence Public Schools district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.

The Lawrence school board on Monday will vote on the implementation, estimated at nearly $334,000, of a new student information system throughout the district.

The efforts are a continuation of school board goals from both this year and last to integrate the district’s software management systems to better serve teachers, students and parents.

In April 2017, the district surveyed teachers about their experiences with existing software systems. Teachers’ top technology needs included ease of use, ability to deliver content to any device and anywhere, and methods of organizing material. The district also hosted demonstrations of PowerSchool, the educational technology platform is designed specifically for K-12 classrooms, for teachers, administrators and support staff, with participants reporting good experiences with the system.

Administrators, in their evaluations, said PowerSchool could potentially replace the district’s current student information system, learning management system, special education IEP system and library management, among others, while also integrating with other systems already in use throughout the district.

The district expects the PowerSchool purchase to be budget-neutral, eventually producing additional savings by eliminating pieces and parts the district has already purchased as well as others the district has planned to purchase.

The initial bid from PowerSchool is about $332,000, after a 28 percent discount. Kathy Johnson, the district’s director of finance, said the integration of systems would save the district more than $71,000 in the platforms that it would replace.

In other business, the board will:

• Hear a report regarding various superintendent evaluation tools (to measure performance and provide guidance) available to the school board. The board currently uses the Kansas Education Evaluation Protocol for this purpose. After reviewing and considering different systems, including KEEP, the board will discuss and determine which system should be adopted.

• Hear an update on the district’s ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Language) program from Leah Wisdom, assistant director of equity and student services. The report will cover state and federal guidelines that shape the district’s programming and also provide updates on program enrollment, staffing and funding, among other items.

The school board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.