(Tribune News Service) -- The York City School Board heard a proposal for a new student information management system that the business manager says would be more user friendly and cost less each year.

The proposed system, called Sapphire, would include web portals for students and parents, so they could access grades or assignments, Richard Snodgrass told the school board during a committee meeting Monday. Some board members had earlier said parents were interested in having that ability.

The system is easier to use than the district's current program, he said, and it would allow parents to go online to do things like change their address, for example, which the district would then be able to approve.

Snodgrass said it should be easier for those who are familiar with certain data — for example, building secretaries or principals who track attendance — to be able to manage that, rather than relying on the district's technology department for help.

The software and basic support would cost about $10,000 to $15,000 less each year than what the district pays for its current system, he said. It would be hosted and maintained by the company, further reducing the burden on district technology staff, Snodgrass said, and freeing them up to focus more on what the district needs to meet educational needs.

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