SIDNEY — The purchase of an online registration program for Sidney City Schools was approved Wednesday morning during a special meeting of the Board of Education.
The motion to approve the purchase of InfoSnap was 3-1 with board member Bob Smith voting no. Board member Paul Heins was not present for the meeting.
The cost of the program is $17,750 for the first year and $14,626 for the second year.
The item was originally presented ot the board at its March 21 meeting. After receiving questions about the safety of the students’s information and how the information would be transferred if the district went with another company in the future, the issue was taken off the agenda and tabled.
During the March 21 meeting, Smith brought up several concerns he had with the proposed solution.
“My top two were an unknown exposure/liability if the data were compromised and, as far as I knew, the security of the system had not been evaluated by an independent third party,” said Smith. “Neither of those questions were answered and, to me, the rewards for transitioning did not outweigh the risks. Both my college education and career are in software development; additionally, I’ve done some limited work in the computer security area and it’s still something on which I keep up. We always try to remember that, as a board, we need to be good stewards of the money with which the community has entrusted us … I also believe that we need to be good stewards of the data/information with which we’ve been entrusted. To me, any time we move student data outside of our control, we need to make sure we’ve done everything possible to make sure it’s in the safest of locations.”
Smith said he spoke for 15 minutes during the special board meeting Wednesday on why he thought this was a bad idea.
“In the end I could only give my ‘strongly no’ vote,” said Smith. “With that said, I think this is probably one of the top solutions, and there are many things they are doing right … however, ‘many things’ is not the same as ‘all things’.”
According to Eric Finke, director of Operations & Technology, InfoSnap is a program that is fully integrated with the district’s Student Information System that allows the district to electronically issue forms to parents, track their completion progress, and send timely notifications when the information is due. Once the forms are completed, the information is securely stored. Beginning August 2016, all student registration forms will be accessible online and parents will not have to fill out the same forms year after year. Parents will be given a unique and secure username and password to fill out the electronic forms including registration forms, network access, photo and internet release, emergency medical treatment, field trip authorization, academic records request, athletic forms, and the student handbooks. Any parent with internet access from any device can update their required annual documentation as well as update their information if/when it changes. Those families without access to the internet will be invited to the district’s computer labs at specified times to complete their required online forms.