Kudos to that school's admin staff. This is a real educational experience. You can't beat hands-on. Plus the students are engaged in the operation of their school; IOW they have some ownership or at least a partnership.
I agree with the comments re compatibility. MS is the odd-man-out. They've been forcing their proprietary stuff on the world for too long. And innovation has been stunted as a result of their dominance. My peers and I witnessed time and again in the 80's when someone would come out with a great idea and then MS would buy them and the great idea would disappear so there would be no competition in the marketplace.
open office does not fully work with office files
To be more specific, that comment must be with re to macros because I've never had any problems and I still don't.
I did a lot of support work for a one of the divisions of a large, world-wide corporation. One of the things I did was edit/fix Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. I pulled the files into OpenOffice, fixed all the formatting, spelling, grammar, calculation, and punctuation mistakes and then exported the files back to the appropriate MS Office file format. Nobody knew and I always received compliments re how nice everything looked. As a matter of fact, I did most of that work on a Mac and later on Linux. And, of course, that corporation was Windows only.
It still brings a smile to my face. They were paying huge sums of money for their licenses and here I was using an open-source solution to fix all their problems.