School Considers Outsourcing Website

By Katie Friedman, Correspondent

At its most recent meeting, Monday, March 12, the Maple Lake School Board heard information about a potential switch of the school district’s Website from a homemade product to a commercial one.

Superintendent Mark Redemske brought the idea to board members on the recommendation of the Technology Committee, saying that Technology Coordinator Randy Benoit and Technology Assistant Melissa Jensen had researched area school district Web sites and had come up with three options for the board’s consideration.

BlackboardK-12, used by Monticello and Annandale, charges $6,023 for initial setup and the first year of service, with an annual $1,400 cost thereafter.

Red Technologies, used by St. Francis Xavier School in Buffalo, offers an initial setup charge of $6,000, which includes basic hosting fees or two months of security/hosting fees for the first year and $390 for basic hosting, or $1,800 for security and hosting every year thereafter, along with a yearly fee of $165 for theme and plugins.

Five Technology, used by St. Michael and Delano, charges $15,360 for initial set up and the first year, also with an annual $1,500 cost for each following year.

In each case, the company would host the data, but school staff would still update pages.

As of now, the district hosts its own Website from an inhouse server, and Redemske said that up until now, the price tag has always precluded an upgrade. But with new technology dollars granted by last year’s successful referendum, it is an option the Technology Committee is preparing to recommend to the board.

Board Chair Joe Paumen asked what a professional host could offer the district that it does not already have, and Redemske said he would line someone up to present some more detailed information to the Technology Committee.

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