School Board votes to outsource technology
The School Board voted to outsource district technology services beginning July 1 at its meeting on Monday, May 7.
The Board voted unanimously to contract with K 12 ITC, a technology outsouring company that works with area schools to manage technology. The company operated under a short-term contract earlier in the year when the district lost its director of technology. The new long-term contract with the company will save $900,000 over five years, according to district estimates.
Jessica Dain, district director of professional and program development, said the company will seek to increase storage for home drives, utilize Web 2.0 tools, enable Web viewing on mobile devices and overall move toward newer technology and greater Internet access to network files and applications in the district.
Dain said the contract marks the first step in re-examining technology strategies in the district.
“This has been a struggle…all year, but we really wanted to take our time [researching] and do diligence,” Dain said.
Among the changes resulting from outsourcing will be differences in customer service. A new extended-hours help desk will be available through the company. Additionally, the district will emphasize self-service and meet with teachers about technology development. All current technicians will become employees of K 12 ITC if they choose and many will remain on-site at schools.
Technology teacher Pat Brock said she fears slow attention to technology failures.
“My concern would be on the turn-around time on our requests to fix computers, because before we’ve always been quick,” Brock said.
Technology teacher Mark Chipman shares similar thoughts.
“Hopefully it will get things done in a more opportune time,” Chipman said. “…Keeping technology up-to-date, keeping computers up-to-date, laptops and labs. Keeping software up-to-date. Those are things that need improvement.”
Two committees, the Teaching and Learning Committee and District Finance Committee, are also examining current district technology issues. The committees will create a concrete district technology plan that may establish technology to be updated on a set rotation.
School Board vice president Tim Blankenship, who worked with the district toward contract negotiations, sees the benefit of establishing a plan.
“We need to have a plan for how to keep our technology current,” Blankenship said. “We don’t have a forward plan looking forward right now.”
“We have to create a strategy and a plan so financially we can support technology and what students and teachers need in a classroom to be successful,” Dain said. “…We’re going to have to put together a technology and financial plan that address how we stay current.”
To read more about the state of district technology, read the JagWire’s earlier story.