Exeter to upgrade phone, bell, PA system

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

3 options presented to the Exeter Board of Education

Exeter school district has decided to upgrade the bells, phone and PA system throughout the school.

Ernest Raney, Exeter superintendent, said there were three different options for the board to choose from.

“We currently are going through CenturyLink,” he said. “They have worked with us to put a package together to help in the transition from using the old copper lines to a fiber connection.”

Raney said CenturyLink worked on a solution and had two different options for the district.

“They had a hosted voice over IP phone system that would have been hosted off site,” he said. “That would have been $1,845.90 per month. Then, they had an on-site hosted system that we would have paid over five years, which was $1,839.31 per month.”

Raney said he also asked CenturyLink if they had a vendor that the district should use for a new PA and bell system.

“The current PA and bell system was installed in the mid 80s,” he said. “We needed to address those concerns as well. Half of the PA and bell system is in operation, but the side that still works is functional for the high school and middle school but not the elementary school.”

Raney said the school can use the intercom system through the phone system they currently have, but there is no back up plan for the system if it were to fail.

“We want a good plan going forward,” he said. “Instead of just a bandaid that temporarily fixes the problem.”

Raney said the district decided to reach out for other options to see what other providers might have had.

“Jive had another option that included everything that we needed and an additional PA system for areas like the parking lot, weight room and the outside ball fields,” he said. “That option had a three year contract with an upfront cost of $16,195, then $690 per month after that.”

Raney said Jive would update the phone, bells and PA systems and they would all be networked through the company.

“They come in and work in five phases,” he said. “Internal kickoff is the first phase, which is to review project requirements, assign recourses, prepare statement of work and project plan and schedule external kickoff call.”

Raney said Jive has been to the district and started some of those projects.

“What is left is getting equipment in and getting it installed,” he said. “Then, testing everything and finally transferring over the existing phone numbers from CenturyLink to Jive.”

Raney said there was a third option from K12itc, which is a school program called Albert that’s a complete network and management program.

“They also manage phone systems and offered to do the PA system as well,” he said. “The biggest difference between Jive — which we went with — and K12itc was that the servers would be hosted on their site.”

Raney said that would have cost $43,500 per year through K12itc.

“That may work better for us at a later point in time,” he said. “But, right now, we have fairly new servers that were installed only two years ago.”

Raney said the district aims to get the use and life out of the servers that were recently installed.

“When it makes sense to move to something different we will review our options at that time,” he said. “Then, we can decide if it is in the district’s best interest to move to something different or stay where we are.”

Raney said Jive has a three-year contract so that will work within the timing of the district’s existing technology contracts.

“Everything will come due at the same time,” he said. “Which will allow us the flexibility to consider other options later.”

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