Thursday, May 3, 2007

DIT suddenly finds some savings!

About a month ago, a bill came through the education committee to raise fees to teachers and student teachers to help pay for upgrades to the teacher certification central registry. You know, the state needs to keep track of teachers to make sure they are properly "certified". The Department of Information Technology (DIT) said it would cost $3 million to upgrade the database. I mentioned in committee and on the house floor when it came up for a vote that this seemed way too high a price to pay for a database upgrade.

DIT got little defensive and asked for a meeting in my office. They explained to me that they were doing this job in-house rather than find an outside vendor. Since all fifty states have to do this by federal mandate, I would think they could find a vendor who has already designed an off-the-shelf package. But no, they wanted to do it themselves.

Well, guess what. They were pleased to inform me that after working on this a little, they discovered that they could do the job for "only" $2 million rather than the $3 million they originally quoted. Hmmm...

Of course, either way, since DIT is an internal agency, I guess the Department of Ed isn't going to bid the contract out to private vendors. And I have my doubts as to whether they will ask us to rescind the bill and lower the newly increased fees to hard-working teachers.

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