San Diego Unified School District Sharpens Attendance Tracking and Optimizes Procurement Operations

Article excerpt

In recent years, California has been grappling with substantial reductions in school funding. At San Diego Unified School District, funding has dropped nearly 25% while enrollment has remained stable. To survive in this tough fiscal climate, the district launched two key initiatives. One sought to boost student attendance, which would have a direct, dollar-for-dollar impact on school revenue; the other aimed to improve the efficiency of the district's multimilliondollar procurement system, allowing San Diego Unified to maximize the value of its finite resources.

Creating Synergy

San Diego Unified started by overhauling its procurement organization, setting up a new Office of Strategic Sourcing and Contracts with full control over all competitive bidding, purchasing, and contracting for the district. "We created a synergy by putting all that functionality into one department, in one building." says Art Hanby, the district's strategic sourcing and contracts officer who led the reorganization.

At the same time, the district focused on getting the most out of its existing Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise procurement solution. Among other improvements, Hanby's team expanded the use of purchase orders for service contracts and leveraged Oracle's PeopleSoft Strategic Sourcing capabilities to secure the best value and prices for goods and services. "In an era of tightening financial resources, we need to control spending and maximize the value of purchases to support teaching and learning in the classroom," Hanby says.

Deploying BI for More Visibility

While it was optimizing the district's procurement processes, the district began deploying Oracle business intelligence tools with an eye to increasing visibility into spending and tracking student attendance. "We wanted to take all the data being amassed by our PeopleSoft system and turn it into actionable insights that would improve educational processes," Hanby says.

Using Oracle business intelligence tools to help track procurement and student attendance was an innovative move for a public school district - and one that is showing early and promising rewards. …