700 Graham Rd
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221
February 2015 Treasurer’s Update #3
From: Sam Orth <orth[at]MCOECN[dot]ORG>
To: Pilot Districts, ITCs and Interested Parties
Fr: David Varda, OASBO, Sam Orth, MCOECN
Re: Discontinuation of Pursuit of Statewide Acquisition of Tyler’s Munis Platform
February 17, 2015
After selecting the Munis platform in the spring of 2014 our associations were genuinely excited about the opportunity to bring this platform to schools and educational entities in Ohio.
Given our history and the implications of running a thirty-year old finance and accounting system, we saw Munis as a great opportunity for schools to modernize their business operations.
As we sponsored demonstrations with schools across our state, excitement and interest grew rapidly around what the future might hold.
While our initial focus was on the software necessary to bring schools more fully into the 21st century, we knew that our success from the onset was dependent on our ability to provide Munis to schools at the best investment cost possible, while developing the statewide support systems necessary to ensure successful platform adoption and on-going service and support.
With the initial interest level across the state, our associations were willing – despite the considerable financial investment and risk and no financial benefit to us – to finance the program on behalf of interested schools in Ohio. We felt then as we do now that spreading the investment in Tyler across multiple school districts was the best approach to obtaining district participation, and would attract the most schools over what we anticipated to be a long and prosperous relationship.
After nearly a year of effort to consummate the relationship, including but not limited to, discussion, customer outreach, information gathering and other diligence efforts at a considerable expense to our associations, our partnership still does not yet have a contractual agreement with Tyler.
Along the way, our potential customers have been extremely understanding, cooperative and patient. While some have not given up hope, patience and more importantly commitment is waning rapidly. For others the delay has pushed their patience too far and they are not waiting any longer.
Recently a significant number of districts participating in Wave 1 and Wave 2 investigated competitive alternatives to Munis. That effort reportedly included receipt of pricing that is substantially less than Tyler’s pricing to the partnership.
While we freely admit that the analysis did not include a feature comparison, and while we believe that the alternative may have less functionality than what Munis provides, what these districts have evidently concluded is that the alternative is a more attractive value when all costs and benefits are considered.
Given the considerable financial risk that existed prior to this event, this recent development substantially increases the financial risk to the OASBO/MCOECN partnership, and will require additional marketing efforts to retain or persuade districts that a more expensive alternative is worth the additional investment.
That additional risk and effort, when combined with our prior due-diligence efforts, and negative influences of the amount of time it has taken to get to this point, led both associations to conclude that we cannot ask our associations’ boards to move forward with the program without subjecting them to an unreasonable amount of risk.
We are therefore writing to inform you of our decision to terminate our intent of establishing a statewide partnership with Tyler to bring Munis to Ohio’s K-12 schools. This decision has been vetted with our stakeholders and mutual governing boards, and Tyler was informed of this outcome earlier today.
Moving forward we anticipate that some school districts and ITCs may still desire to individually acquire Tyler’s solution, and our offer remains open with Tyler to establish a discounted pricing schedule on their behalf if Tyler is interested in pursuing the offer.
That request has been made of Tyler. After having reviewed their options, Tyler may decide to provide individual pricing through OASBO/MCOECN or directly to interested school districts and/or ITCs. If Tyler chooses the former, we will forward the pricing options to individual districts and ITCs soon after its receipt; if the latter, you may expect Tyler will be directly contacting your district or ITC, especially those that requested earlier price quotations.
Let us finish by emphasizing that it goes without saying that we all are very disappointed by this outcome. There has been a considerable personal investment by a lot of people in this program, and it is natural for us all to feel a sense of frustration and loss. Given our mutual respect for school districts that we serve it is easily understood and is to be expected.
We have all invested and done as much as we believe we can do (and then some) and while this is not a desired outcome, we grew individually and as team members, and we all have grown stronger and learned along the way. We have substantiated that many districts were, and remain interested in alternatives to their current financial and HR offerings, and we suspect that interest will continue.
We certainly value and appreciate your districts’ planned participation in the program, and are sorry that is not progressing from here, but hope you can understand and support the decision that had to be made.
Ohio Association of School Business Officials
Management Council, Ohio Education Computer Network
Chief Technology Officer