School District 72 wants to avoid paying the price for being the last district to implement the province’s MyEducation BC software system.
In the fall, secretary-treasurer Kevin Patrick updated trustees on the situation and suggested the district put aside money to help with the transition.
The MyEducation BC website says the system “provides secure access to a single educational record for students no matter where they learn in British Columbia. Teachers, students and parents can use features in MyEd BC to collaborate and plan a more personalized learning experience for students.”
All but four districts, including Campbell River, have come on line in recent years, and there is a penalty starting at $17 per student for the last district to implement the system. Province-wide there is fine of $600,000.
“If you are the last district to transition, you will be responsible for 100 per cent of that,” Patrick told the board at the time.
Staff have already been attending MyEdBC sessions to look at getting the board to commit to the transition to MyEd BC.
“A hefty fine’s going to help the board commit to that,” Patrick said, which brought a bit of laughter.
Part of the reason for the delay was the district wanted to look at best practices based on what has happened in other districts in the province.
“We know this is a big project, and we want the best chance for success,” Patrick said. “The benefit of being one of the last to go is there have been 56 other implementations.”
As well, in 2015, there were several media reports about people in the school system around the province who were frustrated with the new software.
According to the district, it had held off in recent because of cost concerns and a reduction of some features available with the new system.
“Given the fines, we have stayed the course as long as we possibly could, and now we’re up against the wall,” trustee Joyce McMann said. “We’ve got to go there.”
The plan now is for the district to look at what has worked best in the time since. To do this, staff have recommended using money from unrestricted surplus funding to create a district principal position to oversee the implementation of the new system, ideally by December 2019.
“I would like to applaud the creative approach to this position,” trustee Susan Wilson said. “I think it has showed a lot of openness to take a lot of factors and put them together in a way that was going to be beneficial in several different ways to the district.”
The board approved funds of $75,000 per year to cover the district principal position to serve as lead on the MyEd system. Staff expect the implementation plan itself will come with costs such as resources to help with data transition. Part of the role of having a lead on the project is to provide guidance on the process and what this might ultimately cost the district.
In October, the district signed a memorandum of understanding that committed it to move its information student information system to the MyEd system. The Ministry of Education has asked School District 72 and the other remaining districts to switch for the last two years.