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NEWS RELEASE · 27th May 2010
Ministry of Education
Four school districts have been selected to provide early leadership as the Province moves school districts to shared payroll and business administration systems, which will focus dollars on students instead of administration, announced Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid.

"We have been clear about the need to find administrative efficiencies and savings in the education system," said MacDiarmid. "Currently, we have 60 school districts each operating different payroll and business administration systems. By streamlining them, we will put savings back in the classroom."

Each school district in B.C. manages its business administration operations individually through a number of different systems, using different software, practices and personnel. Business administration includes payroll, vacation scheduling, employee information, substitute teacher scheduling, accounts payable and receivable, financial reporting and travel expenses.

The Province has selected Kamloops Thompson, Surrey, Vancouver and North Vancouver to be the first school districts to participate, because of their systems replacement schedules and their size. Combined, they serve almost 30 per cent of B.C.'s student population.

The first phase of the project will be a due diligence review of the existing payroll, business and administration systems in these four districts. This review will determine the complexities of implementing a single system across all school districts, timelines, and savings that can be found. The long-term objective is to implement one standard business administration system for all school districts and centralize the processing of payroll.

"We know that, combined, school districts spend an estimated $70 million annually for payroll, human resources and financial management services," said MacDiarmid. "Through shared services, other sectors have found savings of at least 10 to 15 per cent. A saving of just $1 million is equivalent to the cost of employing 22 teaching assistants in the classroom."

Other partners in this initiative include the B.C. Public School Employers' Association, the B.C. Association of School Business Officials, the B.C. School Superintendents Association and Shared Services BC. This initiative fulfills a throne speech commitment to improve service- delivery mechanisms in order to lower administrative costs.