Thursday, February 26, 2015

Seattle Schools in Wrestling Match with Edline Over Fault in Website

Oh my.

It appears that the District and Edline, the company that the district contracted with in/around 2010 to redo the District's website, are having a tussle over who is to blame for the inability for blind parents/students to access information on that website.

Further, they are now arguing over whether Edline still has a contract and should still be providing services to the district.

In August of 2014, a blind SPS parent sued (along with the National Federation of the Blind), under Title II of the ADA mandates, that SPS was obligated to provide "appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary" to allow parents and others, "an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program or activity of a public entity." 

Meaning, she wants to use the district's website to access information, especially about her children, just like anyone else.

The parent says she had no problems from 2005 to 2012, but when the website was redone, she  found "new significant access barriers."  The parent says she was unable to access information on her children's performance at school as well as other district information.    

The parent communicated, repeatedly, with the District's webmaster over this lack of access but the webmaster blamed the vendor.

The plaintiff is asking the court for an injunction that would prohibit the district from continuing to allegedly violate her rights, a declaration that the district has done so and continues to do so, compensatory damages (no sum given), attorneys' fees and costs and any other award "and further relief as the Court may deem just."

The District answered back in early December 2014, saying that the plaintiffs' failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and that, basically, it was someone else's fault.

In late December of 2014, SPS filed against Edline.

The district says they entered a contract with Edline in 2010 that was to go thru June 2015.  Edline "agreed the system would" comply with ADA and that they would, at no cost to the District, "use reasonable best efforts to promptly correct any services provided under the Agreement that were defective or not in compliance..."

The District says in June 2012, the District told Edline that SPS was not compliant with ADA regs because of Edline's work.

Then, a motion was filed on Feb. 10, 2015 by Edline.  Basically, Edline says it's SPS' problem/fault.

The motion also states that - per the contract between Edline and SPS - either party could terminate the contract on 30 days notice which Edline did on Dec. 5, 2014.  Oddly, Edline also said, in the letter, that they would be "happy to continue to provide services thru Feb. 1,2015." 

It is unclear if Edline did continue to provide services thru that date but Edline states after that date, they had no obligation to the district under the contract.

However, SPS says Edline DOES have to perform and "continues to request and demand" services.

So while SPS and Edline hash out "if the contract is terminated," and when and whether Edline still owes SPS services, this parent still can't access her students' info on the SPS webpage.


Ever Impressed said...

So, we get a new crappy broken website that is barely usable, high costs, and then lawsuits? Excellence for all!

So, who's going to be fired over this? Or, right, I forgot, no one ever gets fired in district HQ. Watch out, here comes the excellence!

Melissa Westbrook said...

And I thought I didn't like the website. I'd give up all I don't like for parents to access what they need.

Anonymous said...

Instead of letting Charles Wright have all the FTEs he asks for to do the job he is getting paid to do, why can't SPS hire its own in-house webmaster, so that there is a clear line of authority and responsibility for one of the district's core functions?

Why does this site continue to use those annoying, ridiculous, user-hostile "captchas?"

-- Ivan Weiss