The other section of intent language for the public school budget that was up for consideration in JFAC today has won unanimous support, with little discussion. It deals with funding for instructional improvement systems, including the much-criticized Schoolnet system. Again, the language is exceedingly complicated. It calls for letting the state superintendent of schools spend or distribute up to $4.5 million for maintenance, operation and licensing of an instructional improvement system, known as ISEE Phase II.
Of that, up to $2 million is required to be distributed to school districts and charter schools based on enrollment, with districts free to choose whatever system they want as long as it interfaces with the state system; they could also use the money for technology staffing costs or classroom technology. Up to $904,000 would be spent by the superintendent for digital content; and up to $1.6 million of the $4.5 million would be spent by the superintendent for “assessment items, professional development, training and school district support, in-house system maintenance, software licensing, and self-hosting support” for the current ISEE Phase II system.
Budget analyst Paul Headlee said the approved language is “the no re-bid option” for approaching this item. Instead of going out for a new contract, the state will now own and run this system in-house; it now owns the code it had obtained through the earlier contract for the Schoolnet system.