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Case Study

Two Illinois Districts Simplify Business Office Tasks

Antiquated technology can be a challenging barrier to school district operations. These districts are glad they looked to a future with Skyward.

The concept of "being more efficient" is a challenge for many district offices. With limited funding and staff available for non-instructional purposes, districts are looking for faster, cheaper ways to complete day-to-day HR and finance procedures without sacrificing accuracy. 

Two Illinois school districts - Clinton CUSD 15 and Mahomet-Seymour CUSD 3 - know what it's like to be faced with these challenges year-in and year-out. Both experienced the pains associated with running antiquated software that did not include an employee portal or the ability to streamline traditional paper processes such as checks, W2s, time-off requests, and more. 

Clinton and Mahomet-Seymour administrators ultimately took the initiative to transition to a new ERP solution - a web-based system that promised to boost efficiencies in their respective district offices and streamline workflows. It was a decision that proved to be the right one for both districts. 

Clinton CUSD 15
Enrollment: 1,901
Schools: 7
Implemented: 2011

Mahomet-Seymour CUSD 3
Enrollment: 3,000
Schools: 5
Implemented: 2013

Skyward's School Business Suite

More efficient finance and HR operations. Across-the-board time savings. "Paper pushing" transformed to digital workflows almost overnight. 
"We were doing paper purchase orders...and stuffing paychecks into envelopes."

The Challenge

Lynn Westhoff, chief school business official at Clinton, and Trent Nuxoll, chief school business official at Mahomet-Seymour, shared some of the struggles their districts faced before adopting a new ERP solution.

Westhoff described Clinton's multiple paper processes, which slowed operations to a crawl. "We were doing all paper requisitions and trying to monitor how much expenditures had been before we actually expended the money," she said. "We were doing paper purchase orders, too, and stuffing paychecks into envelopes."

Nuxoll echoed these sentiments when discussing his district. "Before we implemented Skyward's Business Suite, we were pushing a lot of paper in terms of requests for time off and purchasing requisitions," he said. 

In addition, Nuxoll explained that Mahomet-Seymour's previous software did not have a digital approval feature, so hard copy time-off requests and requisitions were being passed around, extending the purchasing process. "This was especially inconvenient when a purchase was urgent."

To make matters worse, customer support left much to be desired with the districts' previous providers. "With our old software, the customer support was lacking. With the time-sensitive processes we deal with on a day-to-day basis, customer support is crucial if we confront an issue in the elventh hour," Nuxoll explained.
"[We have] drastically improved efficiency in the review and approval of time-off requests and requisitions because of the digitization of the process."

The Solution

Clinton and Mahomet-Seymour ultimate selected Skyward's School Business Suite to replace their outdated software. Westhoff and Nuxoll were pleased with how the solution transformed business operations within their respective districts.

"We now have electronic processing of our invoices, requisitions, and purchase orders," Westhoff said. "The main thing I was looking at when we decided to go with the Skyward School Business Suite was to have a more automated process for those items. The transactions are now more transparent."

Nuxoll agreed. "Skyward's School Business Suite has drastically improved efficiency in the review and approval of time-off requests and requisitions because of the digitization of the process."
"The customer support team has been exemplary in terms of response time and help provided."

The Results

Streamlined processes and increased efficiencies

Both districts realized some key goals they had for their HR and finance departments. "The main benefit was achieved, and that was to have a lot of these processes automated and streamlined," Westhoff explained. "The bookkeeper and payroll clerk both feel that Skyward is a good system and that it's easier to use than what they had in the past."

Nuxoll added that key functions, including requisitions and time-off requests, were streamlined at Mahomet-Seymour. Doing more with less became possible for both districts when they adopted tools that allowed them to more effectively accomplish day-to-day tasks.

Improved decision-making

Westhoff and Nuxoll also experienced improved decision-making capabilities. "Budgets are available on time and there's more transparency," Westhoff said. "The decision making is improved for budgets and expenditures."

"Our purchasing staff like the ease of submitted requisitions, especially when using the e-Commerce feature," Nuxoll said. Both districts are able to accurately control costs thanks to a solution that simplifies purchase and budgeting procedures.

Reliable service and support

The importance of timely service and support was a significant factor in each district's decision to move to Skyward. Nuxoll described his experience with Skyward's support team and expanded upon additional elements his district valued. 
"The customer support has been exemplary in terms of response time and help provided," Nuxoll said. "It has been clear that Skyward stays at the forefront of upcoming state initiatives and federal requirements, such as the Affordable Care Act. This provides us the peace of mind that, with the use of Skyward, we'll stay in compliance with these requirements."

Time and money savings

Westhoff and Nuxoll agreed that their districts have realized time and monetary savings since transitioning to Skyward. "You're definitely cutting back on paper processing time," Westhoff said. She explained that because Clinton uses the Student Management Suite and the School Business Suite in conjunction, the integration eliminates redundant data entry and decreases the potential for error - all while saving the district more time.

"There is no doubt that we're saving money in paper costs, personnel costs in our courier's time spent traveling requests between buildings, and personnel costs in time spent handling and signing hard copies," Nuxoll added. "With regards to state reporting, we're now able to upload our budget into the required state format, which saves a significant amount of time."
"I would absolutely recommend Skyward."

Administrators at Clinton and Mahomet-Seymour realized many benefits after a successful transition to Skyward's School Business Suite. "Overall, we were pleased," Westhoff said. To districts nervous about making the switch to a new solution, her word of encouragement is this: "You'll be happy with the results from Skyward."

Nuxoll agreed with Westhoff's remarks. "I would absolutely recommend Skyward," he said. "I've had other school districts call to ask about our experiences with Skyward as they look to make the same switch. I can easily run through the advantages we've realized in our 2 ½ years in the system."

All in all, these Illinois districts are happy with the return on investment they've achieved from an ERP solution designed specifically to help school districts improve outcomes and reduce costs. 


Follow-Up Resource: School Business Suite 

Check out our School Business Suite online, or contact us today to learn more.


Clovis Municipal School District (New Mexico)

“We were able to use the Skyward solution to save our district approximately $30,000.” –Todd Ulses, Information Systems Coordinator

Deerfield Public School District 109 (Illinois)

“Our parents and students are very engaged, and that helps us maintain excellence in all areas.” –Michael Lubelfeld, Superintendent

Dickson County School District (Tennessee)

"I absolutely would recommend the PDC." -Randy Brison, Student Data Manager

Escambia County School District (Florida)

"Skyward is focused on the mission of providing an adaptive ERP system so that we can stay focused on educating students." –Linda Lewis, Director of Payroll and Benefits Accounting

Fort Bend Independent School District (Texas)

“We are so excited about New Student Online Enrollment... It allows you to customize the registration process to meet your district’s needs.” –Lisa Mirza, Director of Student Information Systems

Hudson School District (Wisconsin)

“I know the time savings in completing state reports alone is well over 200 hours.” –Nancy Toll, Instructional Technology Coordinator

Lewiston Independent School District (Idaho)

“[Salary Negotiations] allows me to work ahead and have the work completed earlier instead of having to do everything all at once in the summer.” –Kathy McPherson, Director of Business Services

Menasha Joint School District (Wisconsin)

“Skyward is the type of company that actually listens to their customers and develops around that feedback, which is very important.” –Brian Adesso, Director of Business Services

Mountain Home School District (Idaho)

“I wish we would have switched to Skyward years ago. We are such a better organization with it than we were before.” –Cliff Ogborn, Director of Fiscal Operations

Muskego-Norway School District (Wisconsin)

"Skyward was there for us every step of the way." -Scott Ecker, Director of Business Services

Nicolet High School (Wisconsin)

"Knowing that Skyward was responding to a need we had was a really powerful thing." - John Reiels, Director of Technology

Oak Hill United School Corporation (Indiana)

“Oak Hill USC is a more attractive place to work for people in their field because we have the tool in place they want to use.” –Brandt Lynch, Technology Coordinator

Pekin Community High School District 303 (Illinois)

“The transition to paperless has gone a lot smoother than I expected.” –Amy Hubner, Assistant Principal for Operations

Pekin Community High School District 303 (Illinois)

"I have noticed that there has been an increase in communication between myself and parents.” –Samantha Bledsoe, Teacher

School District of La Crosse (Wisconsin)

"I find it user friendly, and we know the support is there.” –Joyce Smalley, Business Manager

Wilson County Schools (Tennessee)

“We hope Skyward will be around for many years to come. We are looking forward for opportunities to grow our long-term partnership.” –Cristian Ionita, Database Administrator

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