Parents riled over school system's plan to spend $8M on software - FOX 35 News Orlando

Parents riled over school system's plan to spend $8M on software

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The Brevard County School Board unanimously approved the purchase of a new software system for the district.  However, the price tag has upset some parents.

The district will spend $8 million on the new Educational Data Resources (EDR) software.  It will be paid over the next five years.  District leaders said $1.8 million of that money was already allocated by the district for this purpose, meaning the actual cost is closer to $6.2 million.

One district official said it's a necessary expense, adding the software would integrate various departments and better track teacher performance.  District officials also told FOX 35 that their current software is so outdated, it's offered to other districts for free, and added that the new software is more user-friendly. District officials said the new program compresses a great deal of information into one easy to read screen.

"Of course it's a lot of money," said Michelle Irwin, a spokesperson for Brevard County School District. "But we have to continue to do business as a school district. Sometimes we have to expend money."

Parents such as John Pilley disagreed with the move.

"They talk about sound financial management?" asked Pilley. "To spend $8 million on software is ridiculous."

Pilley is angry the measure was approved following the recent decision to close three schools.

The district's budget director told FOX 35 the timing was not ideal, but added that a totally unified software package is critical for a school district.

"We're the largest employer in Brevard County," said Irwin. "That means that our budget is larger than most people are used to dealing with. Sometimes that also means that we spend larger dollar amounts in order to get what we need to maintain the integrity of our school district."

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