Schools: Phone outages can happen at any time

Phone outages can happen at any of the district’s nine schools, no matter what time of day.

And a fix isn’t coming until the summer, at the earliest.

The situation is dire, and that’s why the Board of Education approved a $550,000 capital budget request last month.

“The phones are working, but at any given day the system could go down,” said Director of Technology Dr. Robert Miller.

“When there’s no service, the outage could be three to four hours or sometimes it’s a day or two.”

Dr. Miller reported 41 system crashes at a Dec. 1 Board of Education meeting.

Two more have happened since then.

Branchville Elementary is the school with the most outages, Dr. Miller said.

The primary driver to update the system is safety.

“While it’s important that the phones work for parents and teachers,” Dr. Miller said.

“It’s critical for emergency situations. If teachers need to call 911 and can’t get emergency services it could be life threatening.”

The school board’s capital item request still needs to pass through the Board of Finance in March before receiving a final vote later in the spring.

If the money goes through, an overhaul to the system can begin as early as July.

For now, the schools have to rely on a contract with the system’s current vendor who’s trying to minimize the problem, Dr. Miller said.

However, that can a difficult task.

Broken parts are not always readily available, Dr. Miller said, because the system is so outdated.