Contact: Linda Murrin
For Immediate release
Common Goal Systems: Missouri Statewide SIS Contract Biased Toward Large School Districts, Smaller Districts Should Shop
Elmhurst, IL (February 20, 2012) – Common Goal Systems, a developer of web-based products for schools, criticizes the Missouri statewide student information system (SIS) contract since it neglects small and medium-sized school districts. The contract assumes there is one best product for all districts, ignoring the fact that large and small districts have different needs. The Request for Proposal (RFP) heavily favors the complex functionality required by large districts and excludes easy-to-use cloud-computing products. Unfortunately this hurts smaller districts -- approximately ⅔ of districts in Missouri have fewer than 1000 students.
"We are shocked that DESE ignored the needs of small and medium-sized school districts, a majority of districts in the state," says Mike Xakellis, CEO for Common Goal Systems. "Cloud computing is revolutionizing student information systems for smaller districts -- costs are lower and ownership is easy. No installation or technology management is required. Unfortunately all cloud-based products were excluded from the selection process. After a few years of waiting for the state, the good news is that districts are now free to choose their own systems. Many districts need new systems, and we encourage smaller districts to shop instead of just defaulting to the statewide SIS recommendation."
In addition to excluding cloud-based solutions, the RFP is also heavily biased toward the needs of large school districts. It specifies ~1300 separate functions the system must perform, many of which are specific to large districts with sophisticated IT departments. "The idea that one product is best for all school districts is inherently flawed," continues Xakellis. "Large districts need complex software to manage large organizations. They also have well-funded IT departments to support these systems. Smaller districts need ease of use and low cost of ownership. Smaller districts will likely choke on the complexity of big district systems."
We encourage Missouri districts to review the RFP (http://oa.mo.gov/purch/bids/b2z11018.pdf). According to section 4.1.2, "The contractor must provide the option to allow a public school district to host the SIS on their own computer hardware environment pursuant to the minimum hardware configuration recommended by the contractor."
Common Goal Systems (www.common-goal.com) provides web-based services to help educators work more efficiently. SchoolInsight is the company's web-based student information system, and TeacherEase is one of the first gradebooks on the web. Using the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, the company offers its products via the Internet and is responsible for all system operation and maintenance. Founded in 2001, Common Goal Systems has hundreds of thousands of users worldwide.
- Common Goal Systems, Inc Press Release, February 20, 2012