New Data System Will Save Arizona Schools Money

By Al Macias
Published: Monday, August 10, 2015 - 8:02am

A new $39 million dollar data system is expected to save Arizona schools tens of millions of dollars. The State Department of Education officials said it’s replacing a 20-year-old program that was inefficient and no longer effective. 

Under the old program, financial information and student demographics were handled under two different systems that didn’t talk to each other. Charles Tack from the Department of Education said information was riddled with errors and hard to interpret. He said The Arizona Education Data Standards, or AzEDS, is unlike any system in public schools across the country. It accounts for school districts’ financial information and student demographics and processes the information in a format the schools can use.

“It is something that no one else, that we’re aware of across the country, even working with a lot more money that what we have had and a lot more resources, nobody has been able to produce,” Tack said

The old system, which was created in the 1990s, left employees dedicating time and effort to manually fix errors, according to Cave Creek Unified Superintendent Debbi Burdick. She said data was unusable at both the local and state levels.

“I absolutely approve of the fact that they are going to have a reliable data system,” Burdick said. “We want to know that the data is reliable and it’s current.”

AzEDS is expected to save schools $57 million by reducing errors and manual fixes. Education officials are rolling it out this year and expect to complete the transition by next summer.