TAVARES, Fla. — Open enrollment can be like an open wound for school administrators who have to make sure their systems are online and up to snuff, whilst often dealing with hemorrhaging budgets. On the scene to triage, if not cure, the need for districts such as Lake County Schools in Tavares, Fla., where state legislation has mandated new requirements are software platforms like San Francisco-based SchoolMint, which offers a cloud-based strategic enrollment management solution for PreK-12 schools.
The Lake County district, which serves approximately 42,000 students across 51 learning sites, needed to align with the recently passed requirement to permit students to apply to any public school throughout the state. Though the expanded school choice is a boon to families, it can be a burden to districts managing outdated enrollment and records systems.
“We knew it was important to invest in a simplified, scalable solution from an experienced technology provider to help our families navigate the state’s expanded school choice process,” said Julie Summerlin, supervisor of Choice, Charter and Community Education of Lake County Schools, in a statement. “SchoolMint’s flexibility in allowing us to configure lotteries and preferences as required by the state law, as well as the company’s overall expertise in the field, made them the right partner for our district.”
Since its founding in 2013, close to 6,000 schools have chosen SchoolMint to facilitate myriad aspects of student enrollment — from registration management to application, lottery oversight and even the management of digital forms and related uploadable documents. Lake County joins districts such as Boston Public Schools, Camden City School District, Chicago Public Schools, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Denver Public Schools, Oakland Unified School District and Spring Branch Independent School District in implementing the system.
According to a TechCrunch article, in early 2016 SchoolMint raised $5.6 million in a round of funding that boasted a gallery of education- and government-focused investors. Among them was institutional investors Maiden Lane Ventures and CSC Upshot (one of China’s top three private equity firms, with $14 billion under management, according to Crunchbase).
When using such systems, school districts may increase family engagement, improve operational efficiency and obtain greater analytic and planning insights through the platform’s reporting tools. Also, there’s an app for that.
“As an increasing number of districts across the country are expanding choice and school options for their families, we are honored that more school systems, like Lake County, are looking to SchoolMint for our expertise in school choice,“ said Jinal Jhaveri, founder and CEO of SchoolMint, in a statement. “SchoolMint offers the system and the tools to make the school choice application process transparent, equitable and more accessible for families. And we are encouraged by the interest we are seeing among Florida’s school districts, given the state’s unique school choice requirements.”
Presently, the company has little in the way of competition since it’s only competitor, Infosnap, was acquired by PowerSchool, another K-12 education technology provider, narrowing the field as it addresses the state’s unique choice requirements.