The Top 6 Free and Open Source School Administration Software


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UPDATE 9/21/2017: This article has been updated to include 7 software options from the original 6, as well as updated information on the software options.

When I was in high school, there was constant talk about my school’s budget and the cost of education. As I grew older, I realized just how expensive it hadhas become to educate children in the United States. As of 2013-2014, the costof educating a single student for one year was $11,222 per year.

And that’s for public schools alone.

While the cost per student has gone slightly down from the peak of $11,699 in 2008-2009, it doesn’t hurt to find ways to cut back on unnecessary costs.

In order to aid in this cost reduction while still maintaining order on the technology front, there are plenty of free school administration softwareoptions to choose from. Here are the seven free and open-source school administration software platforms, listed in alphabetical order.

These software options were chosen because they all include standard capabilities that you would expect from school administration software such as attendance tracking and class time table creation.

1Fedena

fedena

Fedena is an open-source school administration software that largely focuses on handling records.

Pros: Fedena offers unlimited administration and student logins to use their system, along with unlimited courses and batches. The system was developed using Ruby on Rails, so schools can easily customize the code to their school’s needs. The system includes human resources, a calendar, financial management, examination management, and student/parent logins.

Cons: Fedena is the free version of another school administration software of the same name. When comparing the free version to the paid version, it becomes clear that the open-source version is lacking in a number of features, including inventory, custom reports, registration, and discipline.

Features:

  • Course management
  • Admissions
  • Faculty messaging
  • School calendar management
  • Examination management
  • Attendance tracking
  • Dashboards
  • Student information
  • Employee/teacher management
  • Human resources

Have you used Fedena? Be sure to leave a review!

2feKara

2015-10-22_11_11_01-FeKara

FeKara is an all–around school admin powerhouse, so long as you are running an operation with 50 students or less.

Pros: FeKara is a clean and modern school administration and management software option that covers everything from exams and assignments to budgeting and internal messaging for all staff. FeKara even includes a mobile app that can work on all tablets and smartphones for convenient on-the-go use.

Cons: FeKara is limited by the amount of students, bandwidth, and storage thatcan be managed on the free version of its software. FeKara is free for schools as long as they remain under fifty students and five teachers in their system, which limits the free use of this software to much smaller schools. If you upgrade one step up, FeKara charges $0.20 per student with unlimited teachers, and finally, their highest paid tier offers unlimited students and teachers for a one-time charge of $350.

Features:

  • Dashboard
  • Examination management
  • Admissions
  • Faculty messaging
  • Attendance tracking
  • Time table for classes

Have you used FeKara? Be sure to leave a review!

3. Gibbon

Gibbon (1)

Gibbon gives new meaning to “all-in-one” software. Gibbon is an open-source “school platform” that not only deals with school administration, but also provides features and services for teachers.

Pros: Gibbon offers a vast array of features including administration tools dealing with finance, staff management, payroll, invoicing, departmenting, and schedules. Gibbon also provides teaching tools including grade books, rubrics, assessments, planner tools, and library catalogues, and provides assessment access for parents.

The clean user interface also helps in regards to the learning curve inherent in adopting a new software system.

Cons: Software maintenance for Gibbon is quite technical, requiring coding knowledge, which is standard for open-source software. Support is limited to online guides for administrators, teachers, and parents —however, written support will never replace helpful live support. The lack of any transcript features also deducts from its otherwise large features base.

Features:

  • Attendance tracking
  • Class management
  • Time table for classes
  • Department management
  • Library management
  • Gradebooks
  • Student management
  • Rubrics
  • Examination management
  • Faculty messaging
  • Employee/teacher management

Have you used Gibbon? Be sure to leave a review!

4. OpenSIS Open Source

library_screen4

OpenSIS is a free, open-source platform designed for K-12, regardless of if they are charter, private, or state-run schools. OpenSIS is best suited for small and medium schools with a knowledgeable IT staff.

Pros: While OpenSIS offers both free and paid versions of its software, its free version has substantial features. Schools can use this software to maintain transcripts, health records, attendance, demographic information, scheduling, gradebooks, and custom reports. OpenSIS also offers integration with Moodle LMS software in its latest software updates, making user info creation and management for students, staff, and teachers much easier.

Cons: To take full advantage of the OpenSIS community, IT members will have to be familiar with PostgreSQL. The free version does not offer discipline, class portals, billing, or state reporting.

Features:

  • Attendance tracking
  • Gradebooks
  • Scheduling
  • Faculty messaging
  • Government reporting
  • Library management
  • Contact management
  • Classroom management
  • Report cards
  • Transcripts
  • Moodle integration
  • Student demographics

Have you used OpenSIS? Be sure to leave a review!

5School Time

 

2015-10-21_11_39_04-School_Management_System-School_Management_Software_SchoolTime

If you are a smaller school, such as a private elementary or preschool with 50 students or less, the free version of School Time may be just what you are looking for.

Pros: No financial obligations or credit cards are required for the free version of the program and it never expires. Features include board management, grading systems, library databases, exam management, transportation, attendance, and even dormitory management.

Cons: The most obvious con is the limit on the amount of students that can be accounted for in the free version. Of course this issue can be solved by upgrading to the not-so-free versions of School Time, but doing so would negate the “free and open source” solution you were looking for. So, as long as your school falls at or below 50 students, School Time can be a fit for you.

Features:

  • Examination management
  • Time table for classes
  • Class management
  • Curriculum management
  • Faculty messaging
  • Dashboard
  • Directories
  • Attendance tracking
  • Finance reports
  • Payment gateways

6. SchoolTool

Free School Administration Software

SchoolTool is a web-based open source student information system designed to support a single school.

Pros: SchoolTool has a ton of features that largely appeal to teachers. It provides educators with what they need to run their classrooms (gradebooks, skill assessment documents, class attendance sheets, and daily participation journals), strong organization features (including a calendar that plugs in with popular calendar applications like Google Calendar), and a great report card generator. SchoolTool was made with Python, is largely secure, and is run on Linux Ubuntu.

Cons: SchoolTool is a great starting software for smaller schools, but it isn’t an all-inclusive piece of software. For example, schools will have to find other applications to do human resources, reporting, and financial management. SchoolTool is far more a tool for teachers than it is for administrators. SchoolTool has announced as of October 17, 2016 that their primary developers have moved onto other projects, so while outside developers have access to the source code to make improvements, the main team will not be contributing to future updates. It remains to be seen whether or not this will affect the software’s performance in the long run, but the uncertainty doesn’t help in terms of confidence in performance.

Features:

  • Gradebooks
  • Attendance tracking
  • Student management
  • Assessments
  • Databases
  • Contact management
  • School calendar management
  • Discipline tracking

Have you used SchoolTool? Be sure to leave a review!

7TS School

Free School Administration Software

TS School, or Time Software School, is a classic powerful tool that offers the basics for schools of all sizes.

Pros: TS School is great for managing your workforce—it has a powerful human resources module to help manage your school’s staff. TS School also offers a robust student management system, reports, a powerful organizational calendar (with plenty of space to detail sports team timetables or organize classes by subject matter), and an exam module for teachers.

Cons: There are some notable features lacking in TS School that can be found in the paid version, including customizable reports, development, inventory, safety, and admissions. TS School may also present a challenge to teachers who have never worked with school administration software before, as some claim it is not immediately intuitive to use.

Features:

  • Admissions
  • Attendance tracking
  • School calendar management
  • Databases
  • Financial reports
  • Government reports
  • Inventory
  • Faculty messaging
  • Staff management
  • Class management
  • Time table for classes
  • User management

Have you used TS School? Be sure to leave a review!

Other useful school administration and classroom tools

Free software tools exist all over the web, but many of them are restricted by feature limits, operating system requirements, or user limitations. While many schools will find solace in using these free options, not every school is looking for a smaller, free software system.

If these free and open-source school administration systems don’t quite cut it, there are plenty of other paid options to choose from.

If you have recently transitioned to a paid system, be sure to leave a review so that we can stay up-to-date with user experiences!

As for other software and tools, the Capterra school administration blog is full of recommendations and guides to the newest technology in education. If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to read these other blog posts:

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