Delaware News

Delaware City Schools

Officials hope to replace 20-year-old phone system

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An antiquated 20-year-old phone system will be retired to make way for a new, easier-to-use system.

As the Delaware City School district has been making strides to improve technology and communication within the district and in the community, the need for an improved phone system has surfaced.

The district will be getting a voice over internet protocol system, which uses the internet for phone calls as opposed to a wired cable connection.

The estimated cost for the phone system is $567,120 over a period of five years.

Jason Sherman, district director of transportation and facilities, said the phone system desperately needs to be replaced in order to keep up with the times, as well as to satisfy people's preferred way of receiving information.

Sherman said the new system will have great capabilities for staff, internally.

For example, there are benefits to staff members who travel throughout the school district, such as school psychologists or art teachers.

Teachers and staff will be assigned an extension number they can use in any school they are in at the time.

"Some of our staff members move around a lot throughout the day, so they can transfer their extension number to whatever phone they are directly in front of," Sherman said.

Although staff members will notice significant changes, community members and parents who call the school will not experience any change on their end.

According to Jen Ruhe, district director of communications, although the new system is primarily for staffers, there are also communication features the district is looking into.

For example, the ability to send text messages to parents about school closings and important school events or news.

"During the winter, when we had a lot of school closings, we heard from parents that a text message would be less invasive than a phone call that wakes the whole house in the early morning," Ruhe said.

Currently, the bulk of communication between the district, parents and teachers is through email.

"We have to be in the office at our desks for someone to get a hold of us through the phone," Ruhe said.

"Email can be sent at any time based on the person's schedule.

"We, as a district, respond to email very quickly," she said.

Another method parents use to communicate is via messages on Facebook. Ruhe said she responds to messages and direct comments from parents asking the district questions.

The district is hoping to initiate text messaging to parents in the 2014-2015 school year after receiving phone numbers from parents who enroll students for the school year.

"All forms of communication have their limitations, but we try our best to accommodate our parents and how they want to communicate with us," Ruhe said.

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