Janesville23.9°

Schools’ computer system needs overhaul, consultant says

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
February 23, 2009
— Consultants recommend the Janesville School district spend more than $3 million over the next three years to fix an aging computer system.

The school board will look at the consultant’s report when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin St.


An attack by a computer virus crippled computers across the district last fall. Officials say the virus has been stamped out.


District Director of Business Services Doug Bunton has said the district had taken a “minimalist approach” to maintaining the computer system. That approach apparently led to weaknesses that the viral attack exposed.


The solution, according to consultant Elert & Associates, is a wide range of upgrades and an increase in staffing.


A 32-page report calls for spending more than $2.26 million next year, $902,000 in 2010-11 and $169,000 in 2011-12.


The spending proposal comes at a time that the school board is looking for ways to plug a projected budget shortfall in 2009-10.


But some of the computer needs are urgent, the report indicates. The local area network, or LAN, depends on switches that are on the verge of failing, the report states.


Another urgent need: replacing the “dead” backup power supply for the district’s telephone system. The district’s phones would not work in a power outage, the report indicates.


“This is a life safety issue,” the report states.


Some district officials have cell phones and walkie-talkies for emergency use.



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