Business & Administrative | News
3 Wisconsin Districts Choose Business Management Suite
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Three Wisconsin school districts are shifting administration processes to software from Skyward. Neenah Joint School District and Menasha Joint School District will be adopting Skyward School Business Suite; Marion Independent School District is adding to its use of Business Suite by adopting the Student Management Suite as well.
Neenah and Menasha will be sharing training costs as they make the transition from their legacy system to Skyward.
The Skyward software includes modules for handling accounting, contracting, employee self-service, payroll, substitute tracking and other functions.
As laid out in a budget preview, Neenah found several advantages in adopting the Skyward programs:
- Processes for accessing financial reports and employment data is streamlined;
- The legacy software required separate logins for each module in the suite, while Skyward has a single login;
- Users can maintain and access electronic copies of paperwork, such as invoices;
- The company offers mobile and Web access to allow staff to create and approve requests from anywhere online;
- The program provides a data backup; and
- Pricing was lower.
The district estimated that Skyward's one-time startup costs would be about $130,000; annual recurring costs would be about $23,000. On top of those advantages, Neenah stated that it expected to "improve processes, increase efficiencies and eliminate waste."
Both districts have already begun training on the School Business Suite. Neenah expects to implement the finance and human resources modules this month.
"Skyward will provide transparent vision for our staff through the employee access portal, which will empower them to review their own information to create efficiencies," said Brian Adesso, director of business services at Menasha. "With the Skyward School Business Suite in place, we'll be able to provide a higher level of service to our staff."
Marion, which has been using the Business Suite for four years, will implement the student suite in fall 2014. That product includes functionality for managing assessments, attendance, courses, curriculum mapping, fees, gradebooks and multiple other district chores.
As Valerie Brooks, director of special education explained, "Skyward is going to save a huge amount of time for our secretaries. Today when a student experiences an unexcused absence, a secretary calls the parents individually, and when a student's lunch balance drops below $10, they mail a note to the parents, both of which will be automated through Skylert, a notification system in Skyward."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.