Galatzan calling for probe into computer system snafus

LAUSD-computer-system-glitch-prevails* UPDATED

Concerned by a slew of problems with the district’s new student management computer system, board member Tamar Galatzan said today she is asking the district’s Inspector General to conduct an audit of the defective rollout.

“I demand to know what happened and how this got so messed up,” she told LA School Report. “Because until it happened, the board had no inkling that the system wasn’t ready to go live.”

Galtazan, who made her request in writing to Ken Bramlett this afternoon, added, “After the payroll fiasco of a number of years ago, the board tried to put safeguards in place so we wouldn’t go live with a system that didn’t work. Clearly, that didn’t happen here, and we need to know who’s responsible for it.”

She says the board received little information about the progress and development of the comprehensive system over the last year.

“I can’t remember the last time we got an update on the program . . . and we don’t supervise anyone who works for the superintendent, which is who was running it,” Galatzan said.

Among other things, she asks Bramlett to include in his audit:

  • Reasons the new system was put into place without a backup.
  • A financial summary of the program.
  • A review of the management and implementation by LA Unified employees and contractors as well as how third-party contractors were sourced.
  • A breakdown of the problems reported at school sites.
  • Recommendations to avoid the same kinds of problems in future technology projects.

In response to continued complaints about the glitchy system that continues to derail efforts to enroll kids in the right classes, LA Unified officials now say, less than 1 percent of students have been affected by the series of technical snafus.

“Students at the vast majority of LAUSD schools are in class and learning how to read, write, think and speak for success,” the district said in a statement today.

By the district’s own math, that leaves about 6,500 students who have yet to be assigned classes, teachers, counselors, and a host of other services.

The system, called MiSiS — My Integrated Student Information System — is designed to track every aspect of a student’s academic lifecycle by consolidating a variety of existing computer programs. The one-stop-shop is supposed to monitor everything from grades to health records to daily attendance.

However, while the district tries to solve a series backend problems, teachers have been instructed to track attendance the old fashioned way — with pen and paper — through August 22, which is 10 days into the new academic year.

“At times, the system has been slower than expected. We’ve asked teachers to take attendance offline — for now,” reads the statement.

Lydia Ramos, director of communications for the district, said, “Attendance will be input either by teachers, front office or support staff. Instructions will go out at the appropriate time.”

Beyond the immediate repercussions of disenfranchisement by having students miss the first week of school, their exclusion could have a significant impact on the district’s bottom line, which relies on student attendance for federal and state dollars. Every day that a child is not in school, or is not recorded as being in school, means less money for the district.

Again, Ramos, says the district is on top of it. “We will not risk losing money in the short term.”

Previous Posts: Teachers union says computer glitch cost students first day; Teachers in panic over LAUSD’s new computer tracking system

* Includes details of Galatzan’s request to the Inspector General.

  • Josefina Sanchez

    Deasy insists that teachers be accountable by linking student test results to teacher evaluations. Okay Deasy, your ipad program and now the MISIS rollout is a disaster too. You are the chief and ultimately responsible for the district. Therefore, you should show consistentcy and demonstrate integrity by resigning as chief for failing as a leader.

  • birdwatcher58

    This problem is really being downplayed by the district and media. At my daughter’s middle school students are asked to put a check next to their name on a piece of paper that is passed around for attendance. Teachers still have no rosters. What else can the poor teachers do? I’ve talked to the counselors and they are stressed beyond belief working tirelessly, sometimes getting up at 3:00 a.m. to try their best to fix the situation. They are having to go through boxes of paperwork to locate student information and enter it again and again. Has their been any apology on Deasy’s behalf? No! Yet, he makes these demands of teachers and principals whilst a disastrous roll out of this computer program is his fault and is effectively unravelling everything. There was almost no training provided to any of the staff prior to this roll out. What company does this? Students are sitting in auditoriums or walking home early because of this. I think it should be a mandate that no one should be allowed to be an LAUSD superintendent unless THEY HAVE TAUGHT IN THE DISTRICT for 20 YEARS- only then will this person have the sensibility, sensitivity and history necessary to do this job.

  • Steven Avalos

    The disaster that is MISIS is not an anomaly; it is but one of many examples of the obstacles set up by the District that teachers in LAUSD must navigate EVERY DAY. But no one will answer for this mess; just as no one at the top, or at Beaudry, has ever had to answer for any of the myriad, and extremely expensive disasters that this District has been responsible for, from the 93 million dollar payroll system to the billion dollar iPad purchase. Why does no one every answer for these abuses? Because the Board, the Superintendent(s), the L.A. Times, among others, have so effectively demonized teachers–teachers with their summers off, with their elaborate pensions, with their union and tenure–that the public generally doesn’t concern itself with “the man behind the curtain.” Right about this time, the LA Times should be preparing an “expose” how teachers are once again “failing our students” (not, of course, how students are failing to learn; but that’s another tyrade).

    • Steven Avalos

      oh, and I forgot to say: we had a system last year–SchoolLoop–that worked so well students and parents were using it every day; it was extremely user friendly and efficient. But why keep something that works when you can waste tax-payer money on creating another disaster that will take years and millions of dollars to make simply functional? That’s the District’s motto: “if it works, destroy it and replace it with something untested.”

  • Carl Petersen

    ““After the payroll fiasco of a number of years ago, the board tried to put safeguards in place so we wouldn’t go live with a system that didn’t work. Clearly, that didn’t happen here, and we need to know who’s responsible for it.”

    At the next board meeting look up from your iPad and ask the person to your left.

  • Michael Sturdevant

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the MISIS system was so screwy because the District screws up almost everything it touches.

    Is that technical enough?

  • Sonja Luchini

    Wouldn’t it have been better to question the system beforehand and do a small pilot first? Isn’t she one of the reasons we have this snafu? Yelling “Off with their heads” to blame someone when the Supt and Board Members should just look in a mirror…

    A friend of mine is an aide for a student with an IEP who has severe allergies. She spent her morning reading labels on ingredients in the cafeteria because they have a new menu, no one in charge thought to add the allergen list to the computer system and now the system is down. Her student cannot eat wheat.

    What kind of lawsuits will follow from this? I’m sure there’s more than one child in this district of over 600,000+ students who might not have such a dedicated aide…

  • Carl Petersen

    Wasn’t the district saying on Tuesday that the union was overreacting and there was no real problem?

  • Brent Smiley

    Superintendent Deasy often talks about accountability. He says ‘no excuses, get it done’ even when what is being demanded is impossible with the resources available.

    When the Superintendent says ‘get it done, no excuses’ he is asking to be lied to with false promises, and is then able to lay blame on others who couldn’t accomplish the impossible.

    The counselors and administrators at my school have been staying until 8 or 9 at night and now will spend their weekend there too programming kids. It can take 45 minutes or more to program one kids program, a job that usually takes less than a minute. This system is not ready for primetime.

    It went live before it was ready because the Superintendent’s creed is ‘no excuses, get it done.

    I have no doubt that someone will take the fall for this, but it won’t be the right person. Accountability for this falls squarely on the Superintendent’s shoulders, it has to, he didn’t get it done.

    The week before Misis was rolled out in our schools, when admin and counselors were at their desks fighting a broken system, the Superintendent was in Aspen Colorado at the Aspen Action Forum as a featured participant…

    • ric colby

      Everything is being taken care of. go out and have a drink of something…….

      From: “Hill, Matt”
      Date: August 15, 2014 at 3:37:21 PM PDT
      To: undisclosed-recipients:;
      Subject: Re: MiSiS Secondary Support This Weekend

      We will continue to have a team available this weekend to go out to your site to do data entry if needed. Please email me if you would like some help.

      In addition, the Help Desk will be open from 8am to 4pm on Sat and 9am to 5pm on Sunday

      Finally, we will be doing system upgrades tonight (Friday) from 9pm-10pm and from Saturday 9pm to 9am Sunday. MiSiS will be down during this time.

      I hope many of you can grab a beverage of your choice this evening and connect with your colleagues, friends and families.

      Matt Hill
      Chief Strategy Officer
      Los Angeles Unified School District
      213.241.4236 (o)
      213.200.3259 (c)