31-district school computer consortium nagged by cyber problems

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Posted at 12:07 a.m. EST Friday, January 21, 2000

31-district school computer consortium nagged by cyber problems

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) -- An effort to keep a computer system free of the dreaded Y2K bug has resulted in slow computers and trouble in preparing report cards for 31 school districts in northeast Ohio.

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

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.

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 consortium serves school districts throughout Lorain County and parts of Cuyahoga, Erie, Huron and Medina counties.

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.

``In the long run, schools are going to be ahead of the game,'' said Mike Swank, principal of Avon Lake High School.

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.''

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.

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.


-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), January 21, 2000.

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