As the NCPS Board of Education continues to sift through options for a district-wide data warehouse product to store and analyze its educational, financial and human resource statistics, a four-person research team has identified a management system by Cognos software company as the school system's best option.

The $319,156 pending software purchase, which would be paid over a five-year period, was chosen for its sound technological infrastructure, compatibility with existing and projected NCPS system, sufficient level of customization, quality support services and proven track record with data warehousing in school districts.

Congos currently supports more than 4,000 school districts, some of which are larger than NCPS.

The product would also come with more than 200 useful pre-made reports geared toward schools.

"One of the most advantageous features is ... the idea of a dashboard," said Director of Information and Communication Technologies Dr. Robert Miller. "You're role [in the school] is going to effect the kind of dashboard you have customized."

Such custom dashboards would help users organize and present data based on their needs. For example, Miller said, a teacher may create a dashboard to display a student's attendance history, while an administrator may use this feature to fascilitate analyze payroll data analysis.

During the first six months following the pending software purchase, NCPS would pay $31,916. Money to foot this bill woild come from four or five different funds, Miller said.

The total purchase price, $319,156, does not include hardware, Miller said. NCPS would also need to purchase a server, which he said runs between 5 and 6K.

"We're still doing a lot of trimming and a lot of reconciling," Superintendent David Abbey said regarding the software price in light of budget cuts.

Miller and Director of Finance and Operations Dr. Michael Lagas presented the Cognos option to BOE members at a December meeting.