Dublin Villager

School district technology

Aging computers can't be replaced fast enough

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The Dublin City School District has replaced more than 1,000 computers this year, but is struggling to keep current technology in classrooms.

There are 4,535 computers in the district that are more than 5 years old and funding isn't there to replace all of them.

"There are going to be a lot of computers out there we don't have the money to replace," Chief Technology Officer Michael Voss told school board members at a March 10 meeting.

Of the 4,535 computers that are 5 years old or older, more than 2,000 are older than 6 years, a memo from Voss to board members said.

"Most of these old computers do not perform at the level we need for efficient classroom use; login times are longer than desired, and applications run slow or crash frequently," the memo stated.

"The only solution to this problem is to replace the computers with new devices. However, the funding available for new purchases is not enough to completely resolve the problem."

In 2011, the district included $6.5 million for technology upgrades in a $25 million bond request rejected by voters.

The request was reduced to $15.87 million with $4.3 million for technology in a 2012 request that voters approved, Voss said.

New computers were purchased in 2009 and 2010, but they were used to expand computer offerings in the schools, not replace machines, Voss said.

The new computers put more pressure on infrastructure, which some of the 2012 bond money has fixed with improved wireless and network coverage and an increase in storage capacity.

This year, $964,144 has been spent on 692 computers, 462 new iPads and 84 new projectors, the memo to board members said. The district has also spent money on refurbishing 300 laptops.

Despite 1,154 replacements this year, the district has 597 MacBooks purchased in 2006, 1,510 iMacs purchased between 2006 and 2009 and 2,428 MacBooks purchased in 2009.

"We're not going to be able to catch up and replace them," Voss said.

About $3.2 million would be needed to replace computers older than 5 years, Voss said.

"We will continue to struggle with old equipment for the next few years unless our funding strategy changes," Voss wrote in the memo to board members.

Technology employees are working on computer issues throughout the district, but Voss said there's only so much they can do without more money.

"We're not ignoring this issue," he said. "It's just a financial matter. We can only replace so many machines. We only have so many hands on deck to deploy the machines when we get them."

Technology will have $1 million coming from the bond issue next year, $856,000 for 2016 and $756,000 for 2017.

Voss, however, said he expects the funding through 2017 to be enough to replace about half, or 2,500, of the 4,535 old computers.

The problem will continue to grow because computers that are currently 2 or 3 years old now will be 5 or 6 years old in 2017, Voss said.

"The goal was just to make you aware of one of the biggest challenges we face in the district," Voss told board members.

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