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Indiana Ed Consortium Buys Cloud Software for K-12 Nutrition

To get discounted rates and save member districts the trouble of doing their own procurement, the Northern Indiana Educational Service Center is working with LINQ to implement cloud-based nutrition software.

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(TNS) — The Northern Indiana Educational Service Center (NIESC) announced a partnership with LINQ solution's TITAN, a software system aimed at nutrition services for K-12 schools and districts.

The program, TITAN is the only cloud-based and browser-based school nutrition solution for the K-12 industry.

The partnership is, as such, also the first of its kind, offering the request for proposal nutrition services program to all 7,200 districts in the Educational Service Center consortium across the state in 92 counties at a discounted rate. NIESC specifically covers Regions 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 of the 9 centers throughout the state and works collaboratively with all of them.

"The No. 1 reason that we did this is to help alleviate the burden for our members from having to do their own procurement for a system," said Lisa Abell, assistant executive director/director of cooperative purchasing at NIESC.

All schools in the state are required to do federal procurement, or bids, everything from equipment to bread. Abell says the system saves schools countless forms and legal forms for vendors, audit documentations, application processing, claim reimbursement, reports, and more.

"The impact on schools is going to be a huge relief for them in that they don't have to go out and do this on their own," she said.

Ben Readle, Field Sales Representative for LINQ, the company that owns TITAN, said the company is working on seamless integration for the state of Indiana for everything including the parent's side of school nutrition.

"That's exciting for us as well," he said. "This is a big burden for school districts. This gives them the time to focus on what's most important for districts which is feeding those kids."

Through a process known as direct certification, Readle said TITAN will automatically import data from TANF, SNAP or Medicaid to get students free or reduced lunch in real time. Even when certain children are missing from the list, TITAN can, using various algorithms, find and match them with their family so that everyone in the household is covered on free or reduced lunch.

The partnership opens up about 85 percent of school districts in the state of Indiana for discounted rates on the TITAN program. The partnership gives districts approximately a 20 percent discount, depending on various district determinants.

"We've already processed a handful of orders and they are currently in implementation," Readle added.

The program also includes an app for parents for Apple and Android where parents can fill lunch accounts, monitor transactions, maintain applications and even see meal menus.

Parent company LINQ also works with the state for various other school-based systems including Dynamic Internet Solution which includes National School Lunch Program, Summer Food Service Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Food Distribution Program. The DIS customers call their solution CNPweb.

"LINQ is the only K-12 software company that is actively working on a student-to-state program," Readle said. "We are in a unique position."

LINQ has more than 1,250 accounts encompassing school districts, charter schools, and food management groups using TITAN nationwide, with more than 40 districts across Indiana using TITAN as their primary school nutrition software system.

Schools are not obligated to purchase the software or participate, but if they choose to, will receive a discounted rate. Indiana districts that implement LINQ will have unlimited on-demand training courses and full implementation of services, a press release from the company said, including full access to TITAN academy, a self-paced online training platform featuring video courses and providing School Nutrition Association continuing education credits.

©2022 the Goshen News (Goshen, Ind.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.