New software causing headaches for MPS educators

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Every year, the first days of school are chaotic.  Administrators say the new "Information Now" computer program has added new headaches.

'We've been told consistently that things would be corrected and updated," said Barbara Thompson, Superintendent of the Montgomery Public Schools.  "They still have not been corrected and updated."

State officials said the program allows information about students to be accessed system-wide, instead at just one school.  But since the state switched to the new program, systems have complained the program just isn't working.  Some resorted to writing out student schedules and keeping attendance by hand.

"I don't think that it's fair that if the whole state is having problems, we have to adhere to using I-Now," said Heather Sellers, a MPS board member.

MPS administrators said what most troubles them is the enrollment count generated by I-Now.  Officials reported the numbers of students listed as "temporary enrollees" aren't being adequately counted in the system.  Those are students who are enrolled temporarily, while school officials wait for more information.

Thompson said if the bugs with the program aren't fixed by next month, it could have a serious impact on the funding the MPS system receives from the state.

"You do not want to lose 50 students who are incorrectly not counted, for us that's a lot of money," Thompson said.

The State Department of Education told WSFA 12 News it's tracking the complaints and working with the vendor, STI, to fix the problems.  Officials are confident the issues won't impact funding for school systems.

"Right now, I'm not aware that there's an issue, but I feel confident that if there was any concern that the data would be inaccurate, there would be some way to adjust those dates," said Dr. Tommy Bice, Assistant Superintendent for the Department of Education.

Right now, the state plans to stick with the program and STI, which is based out of Mobile.  STI has said it's committed to fixing the issues with the program.

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