Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sometimes the right thing is the right thing....

Austin City Limits via Youtube
My wonderful boss at Sumner County Schools Dr. Del Phillips would say to me- when I was nervous about the political implications of our work- Michelle, sometimes the right thing is the right thing....and he certainly has lived that statement since.
Updating and streamlining the district’s technology infrastructure will be at the forefront of goals this upcoming budget cycle. Director of Schools Del Phillips plans to ask the County Commission to fund about $2.1 million out of capital outlay that will go toward building technology infrastructure within the school system.
The first part of the plan is already underway, with the district working to create a centralized database of all the users in the system, and implementing antivirus programs and an automatic file backup and recovery system through Microsoft Active Directory. The plan also increases bandwidth from 10MB to 100MB at all of Sumner County’s 45 schools, said Michelle Ungurait, chief administrative officer for the district.
Ungurait and Phillips, who both came from separate school districts in other states almost one year ago, said fully grasping how much Sumner lacks in school technology infrastructure has been “eye-opening.”
“We don’t even have basic organization in place,” Ungurait said. “What we’re doing is starting from nothing; building a backbone so more focus can be on (classroom technology).”
Ungurait and school staffs for months have been assessing the district’s technology needs, strengths and weaknesses and gathering feedback from parents through Listen and Learn community meetings and surveys held last fall.
At a school board workshop April 21, Ungurait presented members with comparative budget analysis for 2011-12 showing what surrounding school districts similar in size to Sumner spend on technology. According to Ungurait’s report, Sumner County Schools spent $918,272 on technology last year – less than 0.5 percent of its operating budget, while Clarksville Montgomery County School System spent $9.6 million, Williamson County Schools $3.7 million and Rutherford County Schools $2.2 million.

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