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LA schools' woes with enrollment system continue

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83735 full

Los Angeles Unified officials vastly underestimated the number of students facing problems from the district's new digital enrollment system, new numbers from the principals and administrators union suggest.

In an online newsletter for the week of Sept. 1, the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles reported at least 45,000 students are unaccounted for under the new system known as MiSiS. The district's communications office had previously said fewer than 1 percent — roughly 6,500 students or fewer — were affected.

Here's an excerpt from the newsletter:

We cannot begin to tell you the countless numbers of calls that have come into AALA about this catastrophe. Both elementary and secondary schools have had a particularly stressful opening this year. Basic student information is being incorrectly reflected in the system, with wrong birth dates and juxtaposed middle and last names. Enrollment counts are nowhere near accurate. 

At a school board meeting last week, district staffers in charge of the new system faced a slew of questions from board members. Among the concerns: grading errors may be occurring and parents could be helping over-stressed schools enter data, violating student privacy laws.

Many schools have also resorted to hand writing enrollment data and parents and teachers have raised concerns about student safety in the case of emergencies.

In interviews with KPCC, teachers and school staffers reported students were listed on incorrect bus routes. They said second graders were showing up on high school roll sheets. Some classes had enrollments of 70-plus students, making them so crowded that students had to sit on counters rather than at desks. 

Matt Hill, the district's chief strategy officer who recommended the new system go live, told the board that MiSiS was in "stable condition." 

Chief Information Officer Ron Chandler acknowledged the district could have had a better Plan B, but he defended the system, saying it was working better every day.

The district has spent the last few years developing the multi-million dollar student information system after a previous system failed to meet the district's needs.

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