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Schools confident about passing millennium bug test

Irma Lemus

While the Burbank Unified School District is satisfied that its

computer systemsare year 2000 compliant, it is still preparing for the

worst when the clock strikes midnight Jan. 1.

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“I will breath a sigh of relief after the new year, but I’m confidant

the staff has taken all the necessary steps,” said Gregory Bowman,

assistant superintendent for the school district.

Bowman said the district spent nearly $200,000 to shore up against any

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computer problems.

From payroll to tracking student grades to checking up on kids who are

absent, the district, like much of the rest of society, relies on

computers to perform the tasks that allow it to function on a day-to-day

basis.

District officials said they began constructing their plans to deal

with potential problems from the change over to the year 2000 in

September 1998.

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“If the proper measures are not taken to correct the Y2K issues, the

district might face serious consequences,” Technology Services Supervisor

Rick Vonk warned in a report to the school board that was submitted in

February.

Compliance is ensuring that hardware, software and data in computers

will not fail due to the changing of the century, Vonk said. Older

computers -- many ofwhich have two-digit date codes -- will be confused

by the “00" reading when the new year begins, mistaking 2000 for the year

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1900.

On Friday, Bowman said student databases containing high school

records have been upgraded and the payroll, security and telephone

systems are also Y2K compliant. In addition, he said, district officials

have either upgraded or replaced all of the schools’ computer networks

and servers to ensure there won’t be any surprises when Jan. 1 rolls

around.

Bowman acknowledged that some of the district’s older computers might

pose a problem in the new year. However, he said that because those

computers are not used for instructional purposes he’s not concerned.

Another factor in the district’s favor when it comes to dealing with

possible problems is time. The district’s winter vacation doesn’t end

until Jan. 4, giving it several days to iron out computer malfunctions

before students return to school.

As part of it’s preparations to avoid problems with the so-called

millennium bug, each school has been assigned a computer technician.

Those technicians have met with district and city officials to discuss

potential breakdowns and to come up withplans of action in the event they

occur, Bowman said.

While most people are enjoying the first day of 2000, the district’s

computer technicians will be making rounds at the schools and the

district office to make sureall the systems are working as expected.

“We believe that nothing will happen -- except for minor glitches. But

we’ll still have staff ready in case anything does,” said Bowman.

Y2K box

Since September 1998, the Burbank Unified School District has been

taking steps to prevent computers problems that might arise in the year

2000: The following systems have been deemed Y2K compliant:

*School and administrative offices

*Student database

*Payroll system

*Security system

*Telephone system

*Winnebago -- runs circulation and catalog systems at school libraries

*The district has been assured by city officials that its power grid

is Y2K compliant and that Burbank will be able to generate sufficient

power in the event of a crisis.

Contingency plan:

*All data on the district servers will be backed up prior to Jan 1.

*Technology Services employees will be check all school systems Jan 1.

*Emergency measures in the event of failures will be in place before

winter break begins on Dec. 18.

*Backup systems are being reviewed and steps are being taken to assure

they will be operational as of Jan. 1.


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