BY World's Editorials Writers
Monday, February 11, 2013
2/11/13 at 8:18 AM
The state of Oklahoma has saved money in the past few years by consolidating its many agency information technology services. Gov. Mary Fallin and the state's IT czar, Alex Pettit, believe that school districts large and small could save millions by joining the consolidated system.
Fallin said in her State of the State address Monday that she has asked Pettit, head of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services and a member of the governor's cabinet, to implement a new program, "Open Range," which would allow local school districts to voluntarily join the state's IT system.
"This new program will be available to help schools begin their own IT consolidation efforts, improve their technology and free up more dollars in the process," Fallin said.
Pettit estimated that by using one platform statewide for student information services only, the per-student costs could be cut almost in half, to $8, and total savings of $8 million could be realized.
He said the consolidated system, overseen by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, has high-speed transmission lines throughout the state and 17 full-time information technologists supporting the platform.
Joining with the system would help larger school districts reduce their IT staffs. Smaller districts, where teachers handle IT services, would benefit by letting those teachers return full-time to the classroom.
Improved technology services at less cost at least on the surface sounds like something too good to pass up. Every district in the state ought to check into joining the consolidated system, if for no other reason than to see if it would work for them.