TIES, metro school tech collaborative, votes to dissolve

Metro-area school districts voted nearly unanimously Wednesday to dissolve a decades-old, financially struggling technology collaborative.

District members of the Technology and Information Educational Services cooperative, known as TIES, voted 47 in favor of dissolving with one abstention.

TIES has accumulated about $13.6 million in debt as many school districts have gone elsewhere for technology products and tech support. Member districts may have to pay off their share of the debt to dissolve. TIES leadership last month projected that cost at $72 per student over two years, an amount that could total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the size of the district.

However, the collaborative is also considering outside groups that have expressed interest in taking over all or part of TIES assets and liabilities. The company Infinite Campus made an informal offer. TIES executive director Mark Wolak said the National Joint Powers Alliance schools collaborative based in Staples, Minn. is also interested.

That type of move could lower districts' costs.

"Our goal is to reduce the cost of dissolution in ways that make sense both to the taxpayers and to the students and continuation of services," Wolak said.

Wolak estimated districts will get a final cost calculation in April.

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