Electronic School, September 1998, p. A19

As director of information services at a California school district, the author oversaw the complete networking of his district’s main office and 11 schools. His two-phase plan of attack was simple: start small, first getting the central office networked and connected to the Internet — then expand the project to slowly bring all the district’s schools online. The entire project was scheduled to finish within two years and cost $500,000.

The first phase took little more than half a year and cost $100,000. During that time, the district’s central office was networked and connected to the Internet. Creating this central office infrastructure was important, since all the district’s schools would later tie into the main office.

With a staff of two, Klein began phase two: wiring individual schools on a local network, and then linking those schools up to the district’s central network that had been built in phase one. Phase two cost $390,000 and ran from January to October 1997. They outsourced the actual wiring of the schools through Lucent Technologies, which installed 450 connections in more than 360 rooms in the district’s schools.

To help save on costs, Klein and his staff installed and configured all the network hardware and servers themselves. The final part of phase two was to link the schools to the central office. They took advantage of a program from Pacific Bell to install ISDN lines that were free for the first year and cost only $45 each year after.

Klein says that with a small, dedicated staff of in-house technical staff—and with sensible planning—schools and districts don’t have to waste a lot of money on outside contractors.