Colorado Springs School District No. 11 has built an online “self-service” portal for its employees that allows them to view benefits information and update personal and dependent information from any networked computer using the internet.
The employee information portal, which could eventually be expanded with a range of other self-service applications, is the result of the Colorado district’s massive overhaul of its financial and human resource computer systems.
Colorado Springs School District (CSSD) is the state’s fourth largest district with 60 schools, 3,400 employees, and 33,175 students.
The district recently completed the implementation of PeopleSoft’s Financial and Human Resource Management Systems, leaving behind the old Pentamation “Vex” computer system it had been accustomed to.
The project, which began back in April 1998, has not come without its difficulties, but with the new systems finally in place, school district leaders are beginning to see the first indications of success.
“We’re online now, we’re using the system. If we can get past this fall, we’ll be cruising from there,” said CSSD financial director Glenn Gustafson, referring to the adjustment period needed for the staff to get used to the new system.
After going live with the human resources and payroll portion just before the new year, CSSD now is online with its business and purchasing system as well.
Combined, the web-based PeopleSoft system will afford the district a wealth of new capabilities and improved effeciency, including:
• Electronic workflow between departments. CSSD will finally be able to send information electronically, including Personnel Action forms, which used to have to be entered twiceonce for employee benefits, once for payroll. The new system avoids duplicate entry, costly delays, and the risk of lost forms.
• Position control/budgeting. Over 80 percent of the district’s budget goes toward salary and benefits. Gustafson said the system will allow his department to better manage vacancies and position openings, as well as the tracking of positions, which reduces the risk of unauthorized billing for open positions.
• Improved benefit administration. For the first time, the district will be able to manage employee benefits through its computer system, including coverage changes, COBRA notifications, and retiree tracking.
• Twice-monthly payroll. CSSD needed to be able to issue more frequent payrolls for food service and transportation employees. The new system allows the district to issue twice-monthly paychecks.
• Integrated absence reporting system. Eventually, the system will allow CSSD to convert to a totally paperless teacher absence and substitute system, which later could also be integrated directly with the payroll system.
• Financial reporting. Gustafson said the old Pentamation system was “awkward” in its ability to provide reports and information for managing costs. He said the PeopleSoft system will allow for timely and accurate information.
• Online accounting, budgeting, and ordering. The system will allow for online, real-time management decision making and inquiries, including account and budget inquiries, purchase order entries, warehouse ordering, and budget transfers, with all information flowing
electronically to appropriate departments. Gustafson said the new system could save days worth of processing.
The implementation of PeopleSoft was handled by Empower Solutions, a division of Edison, N.J.-based Intelligroup.
“Partnering with Empower Solutions was the best thing that ever happened to us,” said Gustafson. “They truly understood our business needs, and they helped us achieve a smooth implementation process.”
The project included the development of a web-enabled employee self-service module. The information portal will initially allow employees to view benefits and update personal information. Gustafson said the district later could add a variety of other applications, including employee access to online paycheck stubs and W-4 tax forms.
The same portal also could be used to build a web-based recruitment system, where prospective employees could fill out job application forms online, he added.
Colorado Springs School District No. 11