Woodbridge School District has its own fiber-optic network connecting its office and campus buildings. The school had invested in building its own network to aid teaching and to ensure better administration. It is estimated that the school district will make an annual cost saving of $200,000.
The school management has been working on the construction of high-speed broadband networks built with fiber optic cables for a couple of years now. The Board of Education approved a number of budget transfers at a board meeting on March 21 from the Attendance Swipe System, computer training, contracted services for labs, educational services, online text/courses, software licenses, software/media, and teacher evaluation software line items totaling $319,331.86 into the capital supplies for the technology line item.
The school management said they are in the midst of completing a fiber project that will connect all 24 schools to fiber optic technology. The management said that during the deployment of fiber optic cables, there were many challenges such as river crossings. They had to take the cables across the bridges and due to this, there were delays in the project. The river crossing had caused additional costs to the project.
The management said they, unfortunately, had to take the incurred additional costs out of the tech supply line, which was earmarked for access points.
Rather than wait until next budget year to finance the access points, the school was able to look at other lines in the curriculum that it could take some of the money where it was over-budgeted or under-budgeted and move that extra money into capital so it can do these access points as they were budgeted this year and not wait for next year.
The School said the fiber optic technology project is monumental for the district. Previous to the project, the school had been paying Verizon for the use of their copper line for data. By building its own fiber-optic network, the school can control the whole bandwidth and does not need to depend on others.
The school said with the continued push of technology district-wide, it results in more online users in the schools. The School is almost at a point now where so many students are on the Internet in the schools and the old Verizon copper lines can’t handle our bandwidth. The upgrade to the fiber is something that the district really needs to enhance speed connectivity at all the schools.
The school district will be one of the very few districts in the state or even the country that owns its own fiber network. With its own fiber network, the district will not have to pay Verizon for the use of their copper lines, which will come out to an annual saving of more than $200,000. The management said the $200,000 savings will go toward paying off the borrowed money that the district used for the fiber project for the first five years.
Many of the schools already are connected by the fiber and noted that during the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) testing last year at the schools that were connected experienced much fewer connectivity issues. However, the implementation of the fiber optic technology is not just for PARCC testing, but the district’s goal is to make sure all classrooms are wireless accessible.