Oklahoma officials offer consolidation of information technology services to school districts

Consolidating shared information technology services will save school districts money, the state's IT czar tells an Oklahoma House of Representatives committee.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: February 7, 2013 at 10:05 pm •  Published: February 8, 2013
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“We do this stuff every day,” he said.

None of the state's 521 school districts would be forced to join the state system, Pettit said.

“This is completely voluntary,” Pettit said.

He said after the meeting that cities, counties, water districts and conservation districts also are being invited to join the state's information technology system.

The information would remain the property of the governmental entity, Pettit said. The state in most cases would store the information.

Savings come by combining printing and computer desktop services, software program costs and sharing information technology staff — the same way the state has saved money the past couple of years by upgrading and consolidating information technology services, Pettit said.

Pettit has streamlined information technology services for about 50 of the state's 132 agencies. He said state savings so far are about $42 million a year.

“The things that we've already accomplished we're extending those to school districts and to really any other governmental agency,” Pettit said.

The same concept in combining state information technology services would be used in offering the services to school districts, he said.

School districts seem intrigued, Pettit said. Of 60 percent of the school districts that returned a survey, 92 percent expressed interest in the state partnership in managing student information services.

A technology advisory council has been formed, which includes representatives from several school districts, including Oklahoma City, Ponca City, Yukon, Putnam City and Catoosa.

Rep. Jason Murphey, chairman of the Government Modernization Committee, said extending the state's consolidation of information technology services to school districts and other governmental entities makes common sense. Murphey, R-Guthrie, said schools in his district like the concept.

“Some of the districts in my area aren't really large and so this will give them a new option that they may not have realized that they had before,” he said.

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