Monday, August 23, 2010

Cost of Technology

The Longmeadow School Department recently introduced a new website developed using a GoogleSites template (a free service of Google) that allows for unique webpage customization and provides for a robust content management system. 

Below is the GoogleSites template...

Here is the homepage for the new Longmeadow School Department website....

According to some early reviews, the new Longmeadow School Dept website is easy to navigate and has a built-in feature that allows approved users in the school department (school committee members ?) to add information.  However, at the present time there appears to be only one person who routinely updates the website and adds information to it and so the burden is not shared broadly.

I must agree that the "look and feel" of this website is quite professional and is capable of providing easy access to information, particularly if you use the website search tool that can be found at the top of the homepage. 

I used this search tool to find the FY11 Longmeadow School Department Budget and discovered some interesting facts.  Below is a snapshot of one section of the FY11 budget that reveals that there is a $1545 stipend being paid for managing the BBH school website...

I also found corresponding stipends for each of the other schools + the school department adding up to $10,815 for FY11.  There were also similar budget items for FY09 and FY10 and for prior years.  I believe that these line items have been in place for at least 5 years so the Longmeadow School Department has spent ~ $50K maintaining the individual schools and school department websites.

With the current budget contraints I would urge the Longmeadow School Committee to make sure that these budget dollars ($10,815/ year) are used effectively.  I strongly recommend that it consider integrating the individual school websites with the new School Department website.  The burden of updating and adding new content could then be shared broadly by School Department employees.  This change would dramatically improve the appearance and usefulness of the many different Longmeadow school websites.

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