31 - district school computer consortium nagged by problems

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31-district school computer consortium nagged by problems

The Associated Press 01/20/00 3:36 PM Eastern

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) -- Thirty-one school districts that ducked a Y2K glitch by installing new computer software are facing different problems: slow computers and trouble preparing report cards.

Using the computer to add a study period for one student's schedule can take three minutes to five minutes, Mike Gillam, principal of the 2,100-student Elyria High School, said Thursday.

"It's outrageous. Our counselors are running into the same problem when they try to change a kid's schedule," Gillam said.

The new software was installed last year by the Lake Erie Educational Computer Association consortium in Elyria. The old and new systems were in use during the end of the year pending the switchover in January.

The association's executive director, Lloyd Wright, said he was confident that the problems would be resolved. He blamed the problems on the newness of the software and the short time frame for trying to install it.

The software was meant to make the regional system Y2K compliant, meaning the computer would recognize the abbreviated date 00 as 2000 instead of 1900. The two-digit year designation began years ago to save computer capacity.

While the program has created headaches for schools trying to get their midyear grades out, eventually it could help speed up computer work, said Mike Swank, principal of Avon Lake High School.

"In the long run, schools are going to be ahead of the game," he said.

Some of the computer problems can be traced to tailoring the software to districts in a five-county northeast Ohio region and 70 schools, Swank said.

"What Avon Lake may request may be different than what Bay Village requests," he said. "That's what has happened, to a large degree."

One glitch prevents computer averaging of first- and second-quarter grades for a midyear report card, so teachers have to do that individually, Swank said.

At Elyria High School, teachers have been unable to enter first-quarter grades into the new system, so they are using the old system and awaiting upgrades, Gillam said.

The consortium serves school districts throughout Lorain County and parts of Cuyahoga, Erie, Huron and Medina counties. Students haven't noticed the glitches, Swank and Gillam said.

Avon Lake Superintendent Dan Ross told The Morning Journal of Lorain that the new software would be a big improvement, but people must be patient until the bugs are worked out.

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), January 20, 2000


Good job, Homer! Thanks for obviously tireless efforts.

-- Paranoia Will (Destroy_Y@BlackCopters.com), January 20, 2000.

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