Blaine company makes bid for troubled school tech group

Blaine-based Infinite Campus says it could save metro school districts millions of dollars by taking over a troubled technology collaborative.

The school district collaborative known as TIES is $13.6 million in debt, and members are set to vote later this month on whether to dissolve it. Districts would pay an estimated $72 per student over two years to dissolve, an amount that could total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the size of the district.

Infinite Campus says it would assume TIES' debt at no cost to districts. CEO Charlie Kratsch wrote in a letter to TIES board members Monday that Infinite Campus could save money by selling the TIES building, cutting employees and "leveraging our staff, facilities and national customer base."

Kratsch said Infinite Campus could come out ahead financially once TIES assets are taken into account, but he doesn't have enough information about the group's finances to know for sure.

"If there is a cost to us, I'm going to take that on just because this is something that needs to be done. I think in the long run, hopefully the goodwill of the member districts who didn't have to pay in all that money would result in more customers for us," Kratsch said.

Kratsch said the first step of the takeover would be a financial audit.

TIES executive director Mark Wolak wrote in an email that the TIES executive committee is considering the offer.

TIES management has proposed an alternative to dissolving that would involve reorganizing the collaborative. Under that plan districts would pay about $19 per student over the next two years to help pay down debt.

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