A CMS for School Districts

I’m soliciting all you geeks out there for some recommendations. Currently our school division website is using Mambo as it’s CMS. It certainly has a lot of great features and components. As a new division we’re hoping to use one CMS and create 45 school websites using a single instance of the CMS rather than having separate installs for each school.

We’d be happy to stick with Mambo but need something that’s quite simple for end users to use. Mambo is fairly complicated from the back end.  Does anyone have a suggestion for a CMS that would allow us to use a single installation of a CMS and create individuals websites off of that? The template would be similar but ideally it would be great if each school had some control over the navigation and css.

So all you geeks out there…what do you suggest?

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  • Plone deserves serious consideration.

  • Thanks Tom,

    I checked it out and it looks interesting. Do you know of others using it in the way I describe? I’d like to chat with someone about it.

  • We have use Etomite and then its fork, Modx. The latter is a bit better, but it’s still not very mature … you will need some good techies and php knowledge.

    We have been using Drupal for our digital internship project (http://scratchpost.uregina.ca) and for another project on campus. I know D’Arcy Norman has lots to say about Drupal. Joomla is supposed to be pretty good as well.

    Have you check out http://www.opensourcecms.com/ … you can test drive several different flavours.

  • We are developing an open source CMS for Penn State built on Plone. It is built to do exactly what you are asking. We will be releasing a 1.0 version shortly. You might be interested in checking it out. While it is being developed for the Higher Ed space, there is no reason why it couldn’t be adapted for a school districts. You might want to check out our web site:



  • Dean,

    While I have no suggestions, I did want to make an observation. I had not seen the Mambo site before your post. I was impressed with their business related template. As someone who is currently struggling to create a business Web site, I have been frustrated with the lack of business oriented templates I’ve seen through WordPress (which I love using) and Drupal (which I still haven’t tried).

  • Heather,

    I didn’t have anything to do with the creation of our site. I think our developer basically created his own template from scratch and then simply inserted the html and css inside of mambo.

  • One thing the WebLion site reminds me of is that Plone is compliant with accessibility standards out of the box, and it tends to be easy to keep it that way as you’re adding new content.

  • You could take a look at site@school, specially designed for use in (primary) schools. It’s open source!

  • Check out Drupal. It can house multiple sites, and a site can be set up so each user has their own blog and site.

  • Hi, I like your site! I enjoyed browsing it. Thanks. In Dutch we say dank-je-wel 4 thanks))

  • It’s a very interesting subject I was looking around about more information but you got really what i was looking for in your article so thanks and keep it up you have a great blog .
    I’m very interested in CMS and all its related subjects.