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Schools to electronically track inventory

The Baltimore Sun

The city school system is switching to an all-electronic method of tracking inventory and monitoring grants at individual schools, officials said yesterday.

Charlene Cooper Boston, Baltimore City schools interim chief executive officer, said the new system reduces the need for paper tracking and provides instant account balances and receipt management for school administrators through K12Buy.com, a Web-based procurement company.

School system officials said the service is being provided free by K12Buy.com.

The company receives commissions from vendors who make sales using the service.

Boston said the switch to electronic tracking is being made as part of the system's master plan, which was submitted to the state last fall and outlined academic reforms over the next two years.

"We have a goal that says we would put in place efficient and effective ways of operating," she said. "This is a novel approach to doing that. We think we're trailblazers in establishing a paperless, electronic purchasing system."

Schools officials said administrators can go to the Web and buy supplies pre-approved by system officials.

Jeff Parker, director for materials management for the city school system, said the electronic requests by administrators for major expenditures can be approved in a day. Previously, written requests took up to six days for approval.

Parker said administrators will be able to see how much money is left in their respective school's budget after a purchase.

"No purchase transaction will happen without money in the budget so we'll have much stronger fiscal control," Parker said. "And there will be no more lost records. If it's electronic, it's there."

This is the first time that K12Buy.com - which works primarily with the medical, food and hotel industries - is being used in schools, according to company officials.


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