If you've ever tried to track down state aid numbers for a school district in the hours after the governor releases his budget, you might wonder why the report looks like its was created in the 1980s.
It's because it was -- or at least the computer program the state Department of Education uses to tally up exactly how much money each district would get.
The reports are a go-to source of information for superintendents and legislators to understand exactly how they would be impacted by a state budget proposal.
"It was great when I was a legislator because this process was there," Regent James R. Tallon Jr. told his colleagues this month. "The problem is, it's the same computer that we were using when I was there."
Tallon, who served in the state Assembly for 19 years, began his tenure there in 1975. The computer program, written in the programming language COBOL and running on a Unisys mainframe, is "reaching the limits of its useful life," according to the Board of Regent's budget request. The board has requested $2 million for a new system that could create state aid models based on funding formulas.
Tallon, at the February Board of Regents meeting, worried what would happen if it suddenly went down when the Department of Education was under pressure to crunch all those numbers. "This is just the question: Who's going to put the $2 million bucks on the table?" Tallon wondered.
-- Denise Jewell Gee