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Cortines promises MiSiS is fixed and ready to go as new school year opens

Craig Clough | August 7, 2015

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RamonCortinesLooking to calm any last-minute fears that the start of the new school year will mirror last year’s troublesome beginning, LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines is promising that the MiSiS computer system has been fixed and will operate smoothy when schools open later this month.

“MiSiS is the heart of this district,” he said in a statement from the district. “After months of tireless repairs, our heart has some new stents, replaced valves, a pacemaker, and reduced cholesterol, and it is pumping much stronger.”

It was a mighty sick patient a year ago, with malfunctions causing computer breakdowns, scheduling nightmares and other distuptions. Jefferson High School was hit the hardest, with the MiSiS problems leading to a walkout after hundreds of students were left without proper class schedules.

MiSiS was given an original price tag of $29 million, but it has ballooned to $133 million. The additional investment of funds and personnel has paid off, Cortines said.

“Despite the challenges we’ve faced, I’ve never seen so much excitement and enthusiasm for the start of the school year,” he said. “Everyone has come together to help pick up the broken pieces of our schools and put them back together again. I’m very grateful that the LAUSD community was there to take action.”

The district said technical teams have spent the past year rebuilding MiSiS — My Integrated Student Information System — to ensure that class schedules and attendance programs will be operating properly when classes begin on Aug. 18. The district said its experts will be available to resolve any last-minute issues.

MiSiS wasn’t the only cloud hanging over LA Unified as last school year began. Former Superintendent John Deasy was under intense criticism for the rollout, functionality and bidding process of his ambitious iPads project. Deasy resigned in October, and the iPad program was cancelled by Cortines not long after he took over.

But the district now has over 230,000 tablets and laptops on hand that were purchased over the last two years. Principals who want to use the laptops must submit a plan for how they will be implemented, the release said.

The district pointed to other improvements over last year, including the reorganizing of LA Unified into smaller local districts, new investments in arts education, and the plan to provide all of the district’s students with lessons in computer science.

The district also began last year with 200 teacher vacancies but said every classroom this year will have a permanent educator, and all of the administrative positions will be filled before the opening bell.

“We overcame a lot of challenges over the last year and we will continue to overcome them, thanks to the inexhaustible determination of our entire LAUSD family,” Cortines said.

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