TEA News Releases Online
June 15, 2011
Foundation School Program system wins Best of Texas award
AUSTIN – A completely redesigned complex system used to distribute billions of dollars to Texas public schools won the Best of Texas award this week. The Foundation School Program system was recognized as the “best application serving an agency’s business needs” at the Government Technology Conference (GTC).
The new FSP system required the integration of 18 subsystems used to distribute $20 billion annually to school districts and charter schools. The new user-friendly system ensures data integrity and saves nearly 1,100 staff hours per year for the payments subsystem alone. The new system was a joint project of the Texas Education Agency’s Information Technology and State Funding divisions, both of which are under the leadership of Deputy Commissioner Adam Jones.
The FSP system is one of the agency’s key systems. It is used to collect data from a half a dozen other systems and agencies as well as more than 1,200 public school districts and charter schools. Much of this information is used to calculate individual payments to districts under a variety of state funding formulas.
Before the launch of the new system, the State Funding Division performed its many financial calculations and transactions through a variety of systems and manual processes. This included the use of a 30-year-old mainframe system that performed most of the back-end data file processing, while school districts reported data through web modules and paper documents.
The new system, which launched last summer, improved State Funding’s day-to-day operations with streamlined data entry, validations, data integration and a consistent system-wide review and approval process.
The improved FSP system has reduced the processing time for monthly payments to school districts by more than 95 percent. This one aspect of the program alone saves $70,000 a year.
The agency also saved more than $200,000 a year on maintenance costs, a 46 percent savings, with the use of an up-to-date integrated system.
Along with increasing agency efficiencies, districts have benefitted too. “District users feel empowered by the system,” said Helen Daniels, director of State Funding. “Instead of simply faxing into the dark, they can now manage their data and see changes instantly.”
In addition to the recognition received by the FSP project, two TEA employees received the Outstanding IT Service and Support Award Honoring Those Dedicated to Public Service.
They are Systems Analyst Barbara Rodriguez and IT Services Manager Sandra Tate.
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