District Administration November 2017 - 51

resources, payroll and purchasing while
other systems track fleet and maintenance
at 1,100 schools. "The idea is to identify
procedures that can be automated," says
Shahryar Khazei, LAUSD's chief information officer.
Khazei's team has integrated student
information system data with its ERP
system. The dashboard his group created
incorporates the major aspects of the district's functions-everything from grades
and attendance to cash on hand and the
status of its fleet.
The ERP can make the first weeks of
school go easier, because in LAUSD every
building's employee head count depends
on the number of students enrolled. The
district can then make real-time decisions
about reassigning staff.
This information used to take up to
seven weeks to compile. "Now, every
night, we do a run that tabulates a school's
student count," says Khazei. "The goal is
to react to changes quickly and feed data
into actionable reports."
This degree of automation leaves more
resources available for teaching, says Joel
Hames, vice president of product management at PowerSchool, a supplier of
SIS and ERP software. "ERP has the
potential to reach further than financial
recordkeeping and balance sheet statements," Hames says.
Hames points to a hypothetical district considering two after-school intervention programs. "We can use ERP's
analytic abilities to measure costs-salaries paid, rooms used, electricity paid
for-against achievement-improving
test scores and performance-to decide
which works better."
Predicting the future
The next step is for ERP to become more
analytical and predictive, says Ray, of the
Center for Digital Education, and this
could all come together in the not-too
distant future.
A district CIO, for example, would
access a screen that consolidates information for every major function-from cash
flow to an employee head count and the
www.DistrictAdministration.com

ERP used to be only for big
companies that could afford
it-now, it can be used to
impose financial discipline on
any school or district
-Kecia Ray

day's expected payments to an overview
of the recent state assessments and how
much electricity the district is using.
This CIO could use the software to
determine whether small power outages
throughout a district have a pattern. This
might lead to targeting maintenance
money at repairs that would prevent a
larger electrical failure.
The CIO could also explore ERP
analytics that combine data from grades,
attendance and discipline reports to predict which students are in danger of falling behind.
All this information would also have
been compiled automatically and sent to
the relevant principals in the wee hours of
the night so they can adjust curriculum
and add educational resources for students in need of extra help.
"We want to turn raw data into ideas
that we can use to push positive changes
to education," says Pima USD's Rickert. He anticipates eventually being able
to look five years ahead at infrastructure
and demographic changes to forecast the
number of students likely to be in the district's four schools.
"It's a delicate balance," adds Rickert.
"You don't want more kids than seats or
more seats than kids. We could really use
tools that create a long-term picture of
what the district would look like to help
us budget." DA

Brian Nadel is a freelance writer in Pelham,
New York.

WORD OF CAUTION:

District's ERP recovers
after false start
Everything might work smoothly
now, but Los Angeles USD's first try
at automated payroll in 2007 failed,
with some employees getting overpaid while others didn't get a check
or were underpaid. "We tried to do
this too early, before the software
was fully developed," says Shahryar Khazei, the district's CIO.
Aimed at automating its payroll,
the $95 million system went haywire and took a year and a half to
fix and customize to the needs of
the district. A cautionary tale, ERP
software wasn't ready for a district the size of LAUSD with 30,000
teachers. "It all works well now,
but required a complete reboot,"
Khazei says.
Today, the system runs in the
background and can respond
quickly to changes, such as new
pay levels set forth in an updated
teacher contract, Khazei says.
"The implementation of the ERP
system allowed the district to eliminate many manual processes that
required a large number of people
to support."

November 2017 51


http://www.DistrictAdministration.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration November 2017

District Administration November 2017 - Cover1
District Administration November 2017 - Cover2
District Administration November 2017 - 1
District Administration November 2017 - 2
District Administration November 2017 - 3
District Administration November 2017 - 4
District Administration November 2017 - 5
District Administration November 2017 - 6
District Administration November 2017 - 7
District Administration November 2017 - 8
District Administration November 2017 - 9
District Administration November 2017 - 10
District Administration November 2017 - 11
District Administration November 2017 - 12
District Administration November 2017 - 13
District Administration November 2017 - 14
District Administration November 2017 - 15
District Administration November 2017 - 16
District Administration November 2017 - 17
District Administration November 2017 - 18
District Administration November 2017 - 19
District Administration November 2017 - 20
District Administration November 2017 - 21
District Administration November 2017 - 22
District Administration November 2017 - 23
District Administration November 2017 - 24
District Administration November 2017 - 25
District Administration November 2017 - 26
District Administration November 2017 - 27
District Administration November 2017 - 28
District Administration November 2017 - 29
District Administration November 2017 - 30
District Administration November 2017 - 31
District Administration November 2017 - 32
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District Administration November 2017 - 34
District Administration November 2017 - 35
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District Administration November 2017 - 50
District Administration November 2017 - 51
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District Administration November 2017 - Cover3
District Administration November 2017 - Cover4
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