Sharing a Business System Saves Time and Money for Schools

By John Peretz

School boards do a lot of great work across the country. But, as any past or present member knows, boards can be filled with passionate people who don’t always see eye to eye.

Those passions make the collaborative work of administrators and board members from five Wisconsin districts, a group now known as the Wisconsin Schools Consortium, all the more impressive.

Including districts with vastly different sizes and resources, the consortium has implemented a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that saves costs and streamlines administrative business processes all around. The consortium was formed in 2004 after several districts faced the simultaneous “sunsetting” of their existing business systems.

“We were all looking to replace our old ERP system, and it seemed natural to form some kind of exploratory group,” says Tom Wohlleber, assistant superintendent of the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, which serves about 5,600 students in 10 schools near Madison, the state’s capital.

Exploring the options

Wohlleber and officials from two smaller school districts—Verona and Oregon—decided to approach the Madison Metropolitan School District about exploring a joint ERP system. Combined, the three smaller districts serve about 14,000 students in small-town or suburban Wisconsin. Madison, the state’s second largest district, serves about 25,000 students.

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