The Los Angeles Unified School District’s Bond Oversight Committee on Thursday approved $12.1 million in funds to help repair the district’s computerized student information system.
Superintendent Ramon Cortines had asked for more than $53 million. The funding approved by the committee is expected to get the district through mid- February in its effort to overhaul the My Integrated Student Information System, but Cortines will likely return to the committee later to ask for more.
The funding, which still needs the approval of the district’s Board of Education, would be on top of $33 million in previously approved bond funds for the effort.
Cortines told the school board on Tuesday that fixing MiSiS could take a year. The system has been plagued with bugs since its inception, leading to problems with student scheduling and the production of report cards and student transcripts.
Teachers have also been unable to use the system to track student attendance and enter grades.
On Wednesday, the district released a report by inspector general Ken Bramlett, who found that the district’s oversight of the development of MiSiS was substandard.
“Overall, we found the district’s project management of the MiSiS development and implementation to be grossly inadequate, resulting in the software being rolled out before the data integrity issues were resolved, end- to-end testing done, user acceptance testing completed, load testing was properly carried out and interfaces with other systems determined to be functional,” according to the report.
The report also concluded that information-technology officials failed to “allocate adequate resources for program oversight, and management relied heavily on information provided by the project director without the benefit of independent verification and validation.”
It also faulted the district for failing to properly train people who would be using the system.
The report made a series of recommendations, including the development of a new project plan and allocation of sufficient resources to resolve the issues.
Cortines thanked Bramlett for preparing the report.
“His conclusion validates concerns over rolling out the student record system … and lays bare the work ahead for the district,” Cortines said.
He also reiterated that the problems will take time to fix.
A separate consultant’s report released earlier this month faulted the district for failing to adequately take into account the opinions of LAUSD employees who would actually be using the system — most notably teachers — when the program was being developed. Cortines said Tuesday that would not be the case during the repair process.
“We are going to involve the people who use it in helping make decisions — students, teachers, counselors, assistant principals, principals and all of the staff of this district,” he said.
Glitches with the MiSiS system have continued throughout the school year, at one point leading to a walkout at Jefferson High School, where students complained they were unable to register for classes they need to graduate, were assigned to duplicate courses, or simply sent home or told to sit in a library for certain class periods.
Cortines said he has been working with officials from Microsoft and talking to them about a “potential long-term partnership to improve the system.”
Cortines also said there are now more than 50 retirees working with the district on ensuring the accuracy of student transcripts, grades and report cards.
— City News Service
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