ZIFFPAGE TITLEBack To SchoolBy Elizabeth Bennett | Posted 2004-04-01 Email Print
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Government officials have their share of information-system hang-ups.Back To School
In August of 2003, it looked like an Oracle software bug was going to hold up Baltimore City Public School System's (BCPSS) deployment of its $16 million Human Resources Management System. Initially scheduled to be deployed the previous month, the software would finally give BCPSS centralized control over its finances.
Payroll and other functions previously had been outsourced to municipal services, and a delay in the switchover threatened to cost the school system a half-million dollars a month-including the $69,000 a month it was still paying the city. With the payroll system still outsourced and not linked with BCPSS's budgeting system, school officials were forced to use average teacher salaries to budget for the 2004 fiscal year instead of actual payroll numbers.
According to Vanessa Pyatt, spokesperson for BCPSS, the system is in pilot now and will go fully online in May. The delay actually ended up saving the school system money on the Oracle implementation because it allowed BCPSS's technology staff to learn the software, deploy the system internally and drop the consultants it had hired.
Nevertheless, the savings of a few thousand dollars are a drop in the bucket compared to the school system's recently disclosed $58 million deficit, which in part can be blamed on the old financial systems that the Oracle applications will replace.