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Case Study

From Paperwork Chaos to Digital Efficiency

How the Business Office in Marion Independent School District brought hiring, onboarding, employee records, absences, and time tracking under one umbrella.

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District Background

In a suburb of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Marion Independent School District is growing. Among its six schools, one is exclusively dedicated to a flourishing homeschool assistance program, catering to 1,100 students out of the district’s 3,300 students enrolled.

Behind the scenes, the Business Office in Marion ISD handles critical human resources functions such as hiring and onboarding, managing employee records, tracking absences and substitute placements, and time-tracking for payroll. When Christie VanWey took on the role of Business Manager in 2019, she observed that the hiring process was clunky and slow.

“It was all paper driven. I have six buildings, and literally a piece of paper would go from one building to the next building by courier. It was a nightmare,” Christie says. The inefficiency often led to delays in hiring, causing frustration when recommendation for hire forms were lost or delivered to the wrong desk.

The difficulty did not stop when new employees were onboarded. “Getting that paperwork back was a constant struggle,” recalls Christie. “If they don’t fill out their W-4, we cannot process payroll.” Someone would often sit down with new hires to ensure their forms were completed on time so they could receive their paychecks.

Despite having systems in place for certain tasks like tracking employee time, they were disconnected and led to duplicate work. Employees had to input their hours in one system and manage absences in another. “They were having to go onto the time clock and put their leave in, but also in the sub system. And then we have our payroll system, so we had three different systems going.” Staff who worked remotely teaching homeschool students used yet another time tracking system, adding to the complexity.

Switching to Frontline

A regional substitute consortium began using Frontline’s Absence Management system to place substitutes and enable districts to manage employee leave, which was Marion ISD’s first introduction to Frontline’s software. Initially, the district only used it to manage teacher absences, not for the entire staff.

As Christie and the team explored more of Frontline’s human capital management software, they soon added Frontline Recruiting & Hiring and Frontline Central. Christie saw it as an opportunity to move away from troublesome paper processes. Applicants hired through Frontline can have profiles automatically populated in Central and, by extension, other Frontline solutions. “The ability to start with Recruiting & Hiring, go into Central, go into the smooth transition from everything just made more sense to us,” she says.

In subsequent years, the district also added Frontline’s Time and Attendance system. Through a seamless integration with Absence Management, this enables the district to track employee leave and time worked in the same system. At that point, the district expanded its use of Absence Management to include all employees, not just teachers.


Forms, Made Easy

Gone are the days of constant follow-ups for paperwork. Frontline Central sends automatic email reminders to employees who fail to return forms. “That’s where Frontline helps, because you can send those reminders,” Christie says. “They are so much more responsive to that, anyway. We don’t have to hunt down as much as we did with paper.”

Christie VanWey Photo

“Central was a lifesaver and has really cut down on that in getting the onboarding process done.”

Christie VanWey
– Business Manager

Teachers and staff quickly latched on to this streamlined approach. Administrators no longer have to dedicate time to reminding staff to complete paperwork, and Christie continually finds more ways to use Frontline. “Employees have really embraced Frontline and they know that is the go-to source. I use Frontline for all my forms now. If they have a payroll adjustment, they put a request in through Frontline. During Covid when we thought we were going to require proof of vaccination, we created a form and they documented it in there. I have used those forms for you name it.”

Contract Renewals

Each year, the Business Office sends out contract renewal notices to returning employees. The difference using Frontline is remarkable. Once the contract language is finalized, Christie uploads a salary spreadsheet to Frontline Central, which then sends personalized contracts to each employee. “It goes in and the contracts pretty much make themselves.”

“Frontline is much more efficient. I love doing my contracts in Frontline. It is so handy,” Christie says. Contracts are stored in Central where employees can access them easily. “I don’t have people contacting me and saying, ‘Can I get a copy of my contract?’ They’ve got it and I can direct them right there, and they can see it at any time. It’s just so much easier. It saves our office so much time.”

Tracking Leave and Time Worked

Teachers and staff enter their absences in Absence Management, and non-certified staff track their hours in Time and Attendance, primarily by using the mobile app. The system reconciles time and leave, eliminating what had been a time-consuming manual process. “I love that they have one central location,” Christie says. “I like how it rolls from Absence right into the Time system. We’ve got one system, we can do it and import into our payroll. It all works very slick.”

Christie finds it difficult to imagine going back to the way things were before Frontline. “There is not a day that goes by that I am not in Frontline. maybe even an hour. I have five tabs of Frontline open right at the moment, actually. It is the core of what I do every day. I don’t think I could function without it.”