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Pr. George's schools will salvage troubled computer system

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By Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 13, 2009

An investigation by Prince George's County officials found the SchoolMax system that snarled the first days of the new school year had significant shortcomings that required repeated repairs. But it also determined that replacing the system would be more costly and time-consuming than fixing it.

Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said that many of the problems with SchoolMax, a computer system chosen in 2005 to help Prince George's comply with federal requirements for keeping track of data, had been ironed out and that it would be easier to get SchoolMax working correctly than to build a system from scratch.

"We have a significant investment" in SchoolMax, Hite said. He also outlined a series of changes that had improved results and were intended to prevent a repeat of confusion in late August, when school starts.

For the first time since the system went online last school year, report cards and transcripts have been completed on time, Hite said. Those involved in scheduling are required to receive training. New parts of the system have been put on hold until the county is confident they are stable.

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