TEA Winner 2022: Dubuque Community School District, Iowa

  • Industry: Education
  • Location: Dubuque, Iowa
  • Number of Employees: 1,900
  • Number of Students: 10,100
  • Tyler Client Since: 2012
  • Tyler Products Used: School ERP Pro (Infinite Visions®), Student Transportation (Traversa®)
  • Website: dbqschools.org


School districts everywhere have experienced growing pains at one time or another, and Dubuque Community School District was no different. The growth of the business department was not keeping pace with an increased teaching staff. As the district’s staff grew, so did the number of vendors and payments to be managed by the two-person accounts payable team.

“On average I would say we use between five and six thousand different vendors throughout the school year. A majority, maybe 95 to 98%, were physical check payments,” said Kevin Kelleher, the district’s chief financial officer. All payments were approved during monthly board meetings, leading to an influx of processing work to be done all at once. Kelleher explained, “After the approval, the accounts payable team would then print all the checks, fold them, put them in envelopes, and mail them out. A good concentration of their work was done right near and around the board meeting.”


Faced with resource constraints, Kelleher was intrigued by solutions that could increase the efficiency of their processes while saving time and resources. As a longtime user of School ERP Pro, powered by Infinite Visions®, adding a Tyler Technologies payment solution was an easy choice for the district.

“In recent years we’ve been approached by multiple vendors to move to an electronic payment process,” Kelleher said. “When we learned about AP Automation through Tyler, it seemed like a natural fit since we were using Tyler Technologies for our HR, payroll, our general ledger system, accounts payable, et cetera.”

As an early adopter of the solution, Kelleher’s team’s feedback during implementation was invaluable to ensure the best solution for his district.

“I give a lot of credit to the development team for AP Automation. They had several phone calls and meetings with our district team to ask questions, to see what our process was like, to visit with us about how we thought the system should work, how the system should regenerate reports, what data was important,” he commented. “That was probably about a five month process that we were involved with the Tyler development team. And I think it yielded an outstanding product. We’re very happy with the results.”

It’s really a one-time set up with any vendor and then it’s the normal processing we’ve always done, except now we just have one AP Automation file a director reviews before we send it off. It’s really almost as simple as pushing a button and that vendor payment file goes out to AP Automation.

Kevin Kelleher

Chief Financial Officer


The accounts payable team and vendors alike are benefiting from the district’s adoption of AP Automation. Vendors are receiving payments faster than ever and can choose their preferred payment method. Kelleher explained, “Instead of going through the mail they have the option of doing a credit card payment receipt, an ACH, or a check — whichever they pick. We send out our file to AP Automation and within the day, the AP Automation process has notified [the vendor] there’s a payment available for them to collect.”

Beyond having happier vendors, the district has achieved their goal of increased efficiency. “I would say on average we save about 15 to 20 hours a week in the department with this new process,” Kelleher noted. “Also, by not printing checks, we don’t have to buy check stock, we don’t have to purchase MICR toner, we no longer have to use as many envelopes and stamps. When you add all of those together, it adds up to a significant cost savings for our department.”

With these new efficiencies, the accounts payable team’s day-to-day responsibilities have been transformed. Kelleher went on to say, “A side benefit I’ve seen is improved morale in the department. There is less stress because there’s less focus on that one time of month when they had such a heavy workload. They have some other duties they can do instead of focusing 100% of their time on the same job. Having that variety has also improved their morale.”

Kelleher noted the potential benefits of AP Automation for any district, from saving time and resources to streamlining workflows. “You know, in these times, doing more with less is kind of the marching orders that we all have. So, we’re always trying to find ways to create some efficiencies and save money.”

Case Study Highlights

  • Streamlined payment process
  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Saved valuable time for employees

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