SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Scarsdale school officials have identified several of the district’s top needs, including a complete technology infrastructure upgrade to improve access districtwide.
According to Schools Superintendent Michael McGill and Board of Education President Suzanne Seiden, the technology infrastructure upgrade will prove essential for providing high-speed Internet access districtwide as usage increases.
Jerry Crisci, Scarsdale’s director of technology, has estimated the initiative would require a $1.4 million bond. It is one of several capital projects totaling approximately $20 the board has recommended.
The project would involve upgrading the core technology by replacing network switches and components in each building. New cabling would also be installed in the middle and high school to accommodate the increased reliance on wireless technology. If approved, the district’s backup and fiber optic systems would also be upgraded to aid cohesion in the new network infrastructure.
“(Network switches) will be increasingly needed for additional bandwidth with the growing use of technology, particularly individual portable devices,” Crisci noted. “The items that are proposed for inclusion in the bond are long-lived and not as susceptible to obsolescence as individual computers and peripherals.”
This upgrade would be part of a wider improvement plan that began years ago when the community funded technology upgrades through bonds and a four-year lease and purchase program. As technology and the Internet become more integral in and out of the classroom, Crisci believes that this upgrade could be key for 21st century learning.
“The use of technology is now embedded in nearly everything we do, starting with the curriculum at all levels,” he added. “Because technology increasingly provides the foundation of our instructional program, the district depends on this infrastructure to support the current and future learning experiences for students.”
Scarsdale, one of the more innovative schools in the state, most recently replaced core network switches two years ago in each building. Crisci said that if the project doesn’t move forward, it will lead to greater costs down the road if the schools need to play catch up.
If the upgrade does not get the green light, the district will need to allot funds down the road to replace the components over time, and lease-purchase funds may be necessary, which may limit access to technology.
“Upgrading the switches for the district’s technology infrastructure is not optional, it is crucial to the continued successful functioning of the district,” he warned. “Because technology increasingly provides the foundation of our instructional program, and because our administrative functions rely on technology infrastructure, these interruptions will disrupt key operations in our district.”