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Schools' human resources system to cost $799,978

February 24, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY

karenh@herald-mail.com

Equipment, training and installation for a new Web-based human resources system will cost Washington County Public Schools almost $800,000.

The Lawson Software system, which could be delivered sometime in March, will allow school system staff members to enter and retrieve personnel information by computer, Human Resources Executive Director Ed Lynch said. The new system will cut down on the amount of time staff members spend tracking down files, and it will probably reduce some of the need for additional human resources employees as the school system grows, he said.

"It's about being able to do our job better, quicker, faster, and when we grow, we probably won't have to add extra people, if we can get away from paper," Lynch said.

The Washington County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the system, which costs $799,978. Total implementation of the system could take about a year, Lynch said.

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According to figures presented to the board Tuesday, training on the new system accounts for about half of the cost of automation. Lawson's training costs $344,758, while the software costs $259,720.

Miscellaneous costs, including travel, time-card readers, temporary help, internal training, training materials, computer upgrades and overtime, total $195,500.

The cost will be covered in two years, board member Wayne D. Ridenour said.

"I'm very impressed with this system. I'm very impressed with what it's going to do for us," he said.

According to Ridenour, the system will make the human resources department more efficient, while cutting down of mistakes that could lead to legal problems.

"They have so much with what they're doing with paper, to me, it's almost scary," he said.

Lynch said the new system will allow employees to track information such as applications, personnel transfers and payroll changes electronically. Principals no longer will be forced to travel from their school buildings to complete such tasks as browsing candidates' files, and teachers will be able to update their personal information on the Web using a password, Lynch said.

One feature of the system could prevent a repeat of last summer, when some teachers at the school system's 2005-06 orientation were informed their salary levels had been misfigured.

The salary gaffe will cost the system $238,000 this year, according to an August story in The Herald-Mail.

According to Lynch, the system will be able to calculate job seekers' and employers' appropriate salary levels, and paper-screen applications. It will notify educators about their credential requirements, and notify supervisors about upcoming evaluations, he said.

Thousands of job seekers send in their applications every year, Lynch said. During the school's busiest hiring rushes, Lynch said applications often sit for about a week before being paper-screened and reviewed by supervisors looking for employees. In that time, Lynch said, some applicants have moved on.

"Candidates can turn around that quick, so what this is going to allow us is to get out there quicker," Lynch said.

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