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Computer software system’s cost finalized for school district

Clark County School District officials have finalized the estimated cost to implement a new computer software system, and it’s only $13 million more than what they originally had approved.

Keith Bradford, the district’s assistant superintendant of business, said earlier in the week that the system, which would streamline the district’s accounting and business functions, might cost up to $50 million.

In a presentation to school board trustees Wednesday, Bradford said the system will end up costing the district $46,248,000.

The Clark County School Board approved the $33 million purchase of the Enterprise Resource Planning software, or ERP, in December 2004.

Bradford said one of the reasons for the added cost was because the school district did not understand the complexity of the program at the time.

“There were a shortage of resources,” he said. “We didn’t put resources full-time on the project.”

School board trustees didn’t seem happy about the news.

Trustee Larry Mason wondered why the school district purchased the software in the first place.

“If somebody had done the work … maybe we could have ended up with something else,” Mason said.

Bradford said the costs would have been similar if the school district had gone with another company. He added that the costs for the system were low compared with costs in two other large U.S. school districts.

The Miami-Dade County School District, with an enrollment similar to Clark County’s at 350,000 students, is paying $89 million for the software, he said.

The Los Angeles Unified School District, with 708,000 students, is paying $90 million, he said.

But the system could end up costing more money in the future if the district wants additional services and packages.

Several trustees said they wanted a system to allow parents to pay fees online, but Bradford said that service was not included in the $46 million and would cost extra.

Bradford said that the system would last up to 20 years and that the streamlining of services would help the system pay for itself in three to five years.

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