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GPPSSTechGoForwardFramework Final

GPPSSTechGoForwardFramework Final

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Published by Brendan Walsh
A framework that would allow the Grosse Pointe Public School System to proceed nearly immediately, with identified dependencies, to address the district's most pressing technology needs without requiring another voted bond.
A framework that would allow the Grosse Pointe Public School System to proceed nearly immediately, with identified dependencies, to address the district's most pressing technology needs without requiring another voted bond.

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Published by: Brendan Walsh on Mar 04, 2014
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 A Framework to Address the Technology Gap in the Grosse Pointe Public School System - A Financial Approach not Dependent on a Bond 
Introduction
The Grosse Pointe Public School System (GPPSS) has a technology gap. The tech bond’s failure, however,indicates that the community wants the problem solved a different way. The district cannot depend upon thepassage of a bond. This means that it must look to its current funding options, both the General, SinkingFund, and any other available sources of revenue.This framework was developed on this basis and the feedback from community members who share theperspective of the 70% of voters who rejected the tech bond. This includes leaders of the organizedopposition, Residents for Responsible Spending. The framework also comprehends the strong opinionssupporting technology investment and their priorities.What our community needs now is identification of common objectives to support a plan that is practicaland can be executed immediately.
Overview
The document represents a framework to help the district move forward. It should not be thought of as aspecific proposal. The framework proposes that capacity can or will exist to allow the district to address itsmost pressing technology needs (a) without a voted bond, (b) without raising class sizes staff, (c ) withoutreducing staff pay, (d) while maintaining trajectory toward a 10% General Fund Equity by 2017-18.Materials used as the basis for this framework are provided by:1. The Plante Moran study presented in March 2012 (available here).2. The Basso/Wright Hunter/Ehresman study (available here).3. The district’s financial reports are available at www.gpschools.org.The conditions exist to address the primary needs beginning in the 2014-15 budget/school year pendingcertain variables that should be decided by June and without reliance upon the approval of a technologybond. The highlights include:Leasing some combination of PC’s, laptops, tablets, and/or Chromebooks over a four year period togive all staff members the devices they need while enabling a 2:1 ratio of student to a computingdevices (of some type).Funding key infrastructure upgrades including network switches and routers, telephone system,servers and storage yet funding them in a way that allows for more flexibility of acquisition.Completing the Wi-Fi build out needed in all buildings.The framework amounts to this:1. Identify $8.6 million in General Fund budget capacity over the next four years starting in the budgetyear starting July, 2014 and extending through June,2018.a. Use this to fund the technology requirements that have a useful life more suited to a four year cycle and create a permanent place in the budget for them2. Use the Sinking Fund to complete the necessary Wifi expansion in all the district buildings bymaking this a priority of other planned projectsPlease view this report as a framework for a go forward plan more than dwelling on the specific breakdown. An example is the number and ratio of PC’s and computing devices. Those are details to be addressed if wecan identify $8.5M to $10M of budget capacity.
Prepared by: Brendan Walsh - March 6, 2014Page 1
 
 A Framework to Address the Technology Gap in the Grosse Pointe Public School System - A Financial Approach not Dependent on a Bond 
A Review of the Plante Moran Study
In the 2011-12 school year, the district contracted Plante Moran to do a Technology Assessment. Theresults were presented to the Board in March 2012.The report (quoted verbatim here) identified the following pressing needs. Recall this report is now two yearsold and conditions have changed since its publication, the commentary on which follows.
(Italics and bold are my emphasis)
:1. The District is hampered by aging technology, inadequate bandwidth between sites and limitedwireless.The majority of workstations (66%) and laptops (85%) are more than 7 years old. Almostone quarter (22%) are 10 years or older.Connectivity between sites is leased 100 Mbps (150 Mbps at the high schools)
requiring the District to implement servers in a decentralized manner 
.Wireless is limited district-wide although the WAN and the end user devices will need to beupgraded to fully take advantage of wireless.2. From a staffing perspective, end users interviewed and survey respondents were consistent ITdepartment helps the District achieve positive results (85% agreed).Staffing levels are inadequate (37% believed that staffing levels were sufficient.)3. We compared Grosse Pointe Public Schools to peer districts.
 Grosse Pointe compares favorably with 1.8 students per workstation
 and 763 studentsper IT FTE. While we did not obtain data on the age of workstations, our experience is that
Grosse Pointe has older workstations on average than many of the comparativedistricts
.Grosse Pointe is one of the few districts surveyed that does not have a full time Director of Technology.The District is also one of the few districts without a private fiber network;
ownership of thenetwork is not the issue but rather, it’s the bandwidth availability.
Plante Moran’s recommendations included the following (again, verbatim from their report):1. Establish a full time Director of Technology to oversee all areas of technology.The District needs a leader who can devote significant time and effort to integratingtechnology into teaching and learning.2. Undertake a strategic technology planning process.The planning process should begin with the vision for technology use followed by thedevelopment of strategies to achieve that vision. Key topics to be addressed in the planningeffort include: Vision, Strategies, Budget (likely resulting in a bond to fund), Priorities,Professional development needs3. Address the performance issues associated with the current Wide Area Network in term of connectivity between the District and Wayne RESA
Prepared by: Brendan Walsh - March 6, 2014Page 2 
 
 A Framework to Address the Technology Gap in the Grosse Pointe Public School System - A Financial Approach not Dependent on a Bond 
What has happened since the Plante Moran Report?
The following has occurred since this report was delivered:1.
 Technology Director:
The district employs Steve Woloszyn whose title is “Technology Director.” Ido not recall when he was hired or if his role fulfills the recommendation.The description aboveseems to recommend more of an “ed-tech” person than someone who looks after districttechnology. In other words, this may still be an open item.2.
 Network Capacity:
 The district upgraded its Wide Area Network capacity in February 2013 fromthe 100 Mbps capacity to a 1 Gbps capacity network using a five year contract with Comcast - a10x increase in network capacity.3.
 Wireless:
Wi-Fi exists in pockets around the district, but the Tech Bond study and RFQ indicatesmore investment is needed.4.
 Internet Connectivity:
 The issues between GPPSS and the Internet connection from WayneRESA were also addressed and options probably exist to upgrade the Internet circuit if need be atrelatively low cost.5.
 PC’s and Workstations:
 The district has not upgraded its aging workstations. This would havebeen addressed by the bond and now must be addressed in the General Fund.6.
 Planning Process:
 The district undertook a technology planning process, to some extent, by virtueof the bond planning RFQ. This study was, however, designed on the assumption that allinvestments would be funded by a bond.The delta between the Plante Moran study and the Tech Bond RFQ indicates that other networkinfrastructure needs investment - namely servers, switches, routers, and storage. The failed Tech Bondproposal went far beyond the Plante Moran basics.This table summarizes the February bond proposal of $50.3 million (all figures in $000’s).
CategoryDefeated BondProposal Costs CategoryDefeated BondProposal Costs
Desktops, Laptops $9,847.00
 Back-up Power Supplies $1,446.00
Tablets or Chromebooks $7,097.00
 Telephone System $1,099.00
Classroom A/V Enhancements $7,004.00
 Storage $907.00
Natural Gas Power Generators $3,644.00
 Private Fiber Network $862.00
Network Outlets in Buildings $2,995.00
 Central Switches and Firewalls $828.00
PC / Device Management $2,766.00
 Digital Media System $759.00
Video Surveillance System $2,549.00
 Professional Services $500.00
Network Switches at Schools $1,939.00
 Power Conditioning $480.00
Media Lab Construction $1,843.00
 Servers $381.00
Card Readers and Locks $1,508.00
 Management Systems $205.00
Building Wi-Fi Access $1,491.00
 Server Room Cooling $126.00It’s important to note that many of the figures above reflect an initial purchase
and
a replacement purchase.This is true of the PC’s, tablets, and elements of the server and Wi-fi components. When moving to afinancial model that takes a four year view and creates budget capacity in the General Fund, the equivalentten year value is actually 2.5 times.For example, in the data model below, if the district can create $9 million in a four year window, that is like$22.5 million had it relied upon a financial model similar to the defeated bond.
Prepared by: Brendan Walsh - March 6, 2014Page 3

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