Passive Ninja created a news site for a local high school after researching some of the school news sites available. Wordpress seems to be the CMS of choice, but Joomla is just as good or better. Contact Passive Ninja for a quote that beats your current package deal.
Check out Satisfamily.com or Mcnewsy.com for examples of news sites we can create. Though they are not school news sites, you can get the idea of what is possible with Passive Ninja.