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Government

Elmhurst Park District to make scheduling changes for winter registration to avoid another glitch

District will separate popular gymnastics programs registration from general registration

ELMHURST – In an effort to avoid another registration software glitch, the Elmhurst Park District has decided to adjust the schedule for winter registration by separating the popular gymnastics programs registration from the main registration, which will occur Dec. 1.

Vermont Systems Inc.'s RecTrac registration software glitch caused slow speeds for fall registration on Aug. 4 and spring registration Feb. 24. A successful summer registration, which involved fewer programs, occurred in May.

District staff, with input from the Board of Commissioners' IT Committee, decided to shift the registration software the week of June 21 from being hosted on Park District servers to the larger servers of Vermont Systems in preparation for the larger fall registration. However, the software still experienced a glitch that caused slow speeds and kicked people out of the system.

"Despite all of the District’s recent efforts, it is now readily apparent that VSI is not capable of meeting the needs of the Elmhurst community at this point in time," Park District Executive Director Jim Rogers said in a memo Sept. 10.

Rogers said in an email Oct. 3 that Vermont Systems has acknowledged a configuration oversight on its part during the conversion to the hosted servers that in turn caused system performance to degrade to a less than acceptable rate during fall registration.

The district has determined one way of limiting the traffic for registration is to move registration for gymnastics programs, which generates the most traffic in winter programs registration, to a different day, Rogers said in an interview Oct. 1.

Pulling out more popular programs was the most common suggestion staff and the committee received through reviewing feedback from residents and talking with other similarly sized park districts, according to an Oct. 1 post on the district's website.

"Gymnastics is far-and-away the largest program. .... When we went back and looked at the last two or three winters, it was just obvious it's gymnastics," Rogers said.

He said if another type of program is more popular for spring registration, the district might consider pulling that out instead, if the district decides to do the same registration process in spring 2019.

The district has had a large gymnastics program for about 25 years, with a dedicated gymnastics center at the Wagner Community Center, Rogers said.

The district offers diverse gymnastics programs, including mother and toddler classes, high school classes and competitive teams, and families might want to have classes on a particular day that works best for their schedule, which makes for a "strong" first-day demand, he said.

"While we can’t guarantee that residents will be able to process their general registrations within seconds on the first day of registration, we’re hopeful that making this change will lessen the burden on the system and ultimately reduce the time spent registering,” Rogers said in the post.

The district has asked residents to complete a survey regarding what time and date would be best for the gymnastics programs registration. Possible times under consideration are 9 a.m. Nov. 28, noon Nov. 28, 9 a.m. Nov. 29 or noon Nov. 29, according to the survey, which closes Oct. 13.

The gymnastics registration would precede the main registration so signup for those classes would help determine gymnastics families' scheduling for other programs, Rogers said in the interview.

For long-term solutions, the district is putting together specifications to start to look for another software vendor and compiling a list of alternative vendors, Rogers said. The district's goal is to complete a request for proposal for a new software vendor by December.

Following winter registration, the next registration for the Park District is February 2019, according to the Sept. 10 memo.

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Know more

To learn about the Elmhurst Park District's plans to improve registration processes and to take the survey about gymnastics programs registration, visit the district's website at epd.org.

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