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Letter to the editor: Education agency opts for software that has failed

The Agency of Education (AOE) made a very bad decision accepting the “Power School” bid for implementation of the statewide public school accounting software. If legislation is not passed to delay its implementation this Legislative session, every business manager in this state will be required to transition by July 1, 2020, from a familiar and functioning account software system to an accounting system that has failed. At least one school district in the state has attempted implementation of the software and recently abandoned it.
The chaos this will produce rivals the healthcare exchange software debacle. School boards are being asked to do deal with Act 46, Act 177, Act 173, Act 11, Act 166 and many more and now we are faced with the inability to get actuate, comparative and timely financial information because the Agency of Education made a mistake with their vendor choice and is not willing to stand behind the business managers as represented by Vermont Association of School Business Officials in support the delay legislation.
Accounting is boring, but the information it produces is priceless and imperative to the running of a school district. We are running multi-million-dollar organizations. We need accounting software that works. The AOE should help ensure the implementation deadline is delayed and bite the bullet and terminate the current contract and replace it with software already proven to work. At the least, the AOE should be deeply invested in ensuring our business managers have what they need to do their jobs.
I am speaking as a proud Vermont citizen and represent no one, but myself.
Laurie Childers
Addison representative to Addison Northwest School District
Addison County Representative to Vermont School Boards Association

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