The Los Angeles Unified School District board approved another $12 million Tuesday to fix the student data system that failed to schedule classes, take attendance and track students with special needs beginning last fall.
Under the new plan, the district will spend up to $2 million per week from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15 to have technology companies, including Microsoft, debug the system, stabilize servers, and expand use of the system known as MiSiS at charter schools, among other tasks.
The money will also pay for oversight of the work by an outside party and expansion of the help desk.
The new spending brings the total cost of the software system to $45.5 million, three times as much as was initially invested in it.
When the six weeks are up, the board will be presented with another, pricier spending plan for MiSiS improvements. Earlier estimates submitted to the school construction bond oversight committee showed the price of addressing the system's problems could double to about $85 million.
"I still believe it will take a year to resolve the issues with MiSiS,"said Superintendent Ramon Cortines. "We are beginning, though, to see evidence the system is stabilizing."
The school board also approved $22 million ($13 million in new funds) to buy more iPads and Google Chromebooks so students can take new digital state tests in the spring. The purchase brings the number of district tablets and laptops to 120,000 – a figure that does not include equipment in computer labs, which are are not tracked in district's central inventory.
Both funding measures passed unanimously without discussion by board members, even though just a week ago the FBI seized boxes of district documents in criminal probe of the district's iPad program. The newest iPads will be purchased under a different agreement than the Apple and Pearson software contract under investigation.
When students showed up for fall classes, hundreds found their class schedules had been botched by the MiSiS system. Many piled into auditoriums and cafeterias waiting days or weeks for officials to fix their schedules. At Jefferson High School in south L.A., some students waited until October and after a judge's order to get a full day of classes.
School counselors then noticed errors in students' transcripts and rushed to correct them before November college application deadlines. The district hired retired educators to help check the transcripts manually.