Archive for Wednesday, July 31, 2013

School district wrestling with network outages

July 31, 2013


Lawrence school district officials said they are experiencing network outages this week that are affecting telephones, email and the district's website.

District spokeswoman Julie Boyle said the problems are related to the process of installing new routers and switches that are part of the district's technology upgrades being funded with the recent bond issue.

"The switch installations are in buildings that do not have major reconstruction plans — the high schools, middle schools and some elementary schools that are not being heavily remodeled as part of the bond issue," Boyle said.

Boyle said installations at the other buildings will be done in conjunction with the remodeling projects. District officials have not yet decided on the schedule for those projects.

She said the intermittent phone and network problems began occurring Tuesday. Although she could not say how long they would continue, she said the current installation projects are expected to be completed before classes resume Aug. 14.

In April, voters in the district approved a $92.5 million bond, most of which is for upgrading and remodeling elementary schools, with particular focus on the six older buildings in central and east Lawrence.

That bond issue also included $6.5 million to upgrade technology throughout the district. Much of that is intended to expand the district's wireless network to provide more bandwidth and enable schools to shift to "blended classrooms" that use a combination of online learning and traditional teacher-led instruction.

In July, the Lawrence school board agreed to purchase 212 Juniper network switches from JMA Information Technology, based in Overland Park, at a cost of $545,993.

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aRobot 4 years, 7 months ago

Ladies and gentlemen, your local school district is completely overrun with incompetence. Some of us have been warning about this for years. You have now given a bunch of inexperienced, uncertified, uneducated technology people millions upon millions of dollars to "tinker" with technology. This series of outages is only the beginning.

Demand a list of tech department employees and their qualifications if you don't believe me.

average 4 years, 7 months ago

I think USD 497 has some of the very best sub-$40k/year tech people you can find anywhere in the nation (salaries are public record). This may not be saying very much.

Matt Torres 4 years, 7 months ago


I know this site is run by a right-wing think-tank, but that don't mean their data isn't correct.

Play around with the "Position" filter...I dunno, maybe change it to "network analyst" or something.

a34123h9038419 4 years, 7 months ago

Wow! 5 "Network Analysts" each making $50-70K? You'd think that network would be rock solid... especially in the age of VoIP and telephony. If the network goes down, so do the phones. Which means no 911 in the schools.

Sure hope they get that all figured out.

aRobot 4 years, 7 months ago

Thank you for posting this. I looked it up and there 5 Network Analysts who make between $55,000 and $73,000 per year.

Does that seem like a lot of Network Analysts for a school district? I don't even think they have that many people who provide hands-on tech support for staff in the buildings.

Anyway, sure would be interesting to see the list of qualifications each of the 5 Network Analysts have...

Dave Trabert 4 years, 7 months ago

FYI, that data is for the 2012 school year and is provided by the Lawrence school district through an Open Records Request. We have a request pending now for the 2013 data.

a34123h9038419 4 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, we know how it works Dave. It's not rocket science.

elliottaw 4 years, 7 months ago

If it is coming from Dave then you can't really trust them, just like he posted KU salaries a few weeks ago that were no were close to what Professor were actually paid BY KU and not outside grants and sources

Matt Torres 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm pretty sure district staff at this level aren't compensated using any grants or outside funding. You're looking at classified salaried employees here.

elliottaw 4 years, 7 months ago

He tried to pass the Professors pay off as the same, my point being that you can't trust someone who repeatedly lies

Dave Trabert 4 years, 7 months ago

That is not true. The information posted on KansasOpenGov for university pay reflects what each person was paid for an entire year of work. I never said it was attributed to any particular fund or basis. Universities pay employees from multiple funds and sources; we just report the total pay.

Deb Engstrom 4 years, 7 months ago

I agree. And they are often understaffed because the good IT people leave for better paying jobs.

elliottaw 4 years, 7 months ago

Yes because no where else in the world do businesses have issues when things are being upgraded. Please get a grip of reality.

irvan moore 4 years, 7 months ago

remember the state motor vehicle department upgrade

a34123h9038419 4 years, 7 months ago

Yes, remember how it caused them a lot of money in lost time & revenue? Remember what an embarrassment it was for them? Employees couldn't work. Kansans couldn't get drivers licenses.

I'm not sure if your point was to "see look it happens to everyone" or not, but it doesn't happen to everyone. Network outages happen, a lot, I get that. But it should not happen when you have bought and paid for professional services to come and install new equipment. If anything the contractor is in deep doo-doo. Obviously they did not test their provisioning of the new network equipment before showing up to install it.

Dan Alexander 4 years, 7 months ago

Don't worry, the network staff will work all of this out way before school starts, there will be no consequences for students or staff. The people behind the improvements know what they are doing and have every right to make a few missteps here and there.

They have a very knowledgeable leader who is qualified to lead a tech department, she has shown time and time again to be professional, savvy, and knowledgeable.

Furthermore the district administration is keeping a tight grasp on the current situation, in the possible event that staff is to blame for any inconveniences then they will be sure to act swiftly and fairly to remedy the situation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with USD 497 administration or the ITS department. Those who claim otherwise must just be jealous of their pure awesomeness or whining brats. I'm sure they all would comment for themselves but they are having some technical difficulties at the moment.

Just listen to the Boyle. Do not question, do not opine, all your schools belong to us.

Brad Greenwood 4 years, 7 months ago

You know, when ee cummings does that, it's literature... when you do it, it's just crap.

Liberty275 4 years, 7 months ago

I think it has a certain poetic quality, at least in a post-modern sense. You need to look deep inside yourself to find the meaning, that's all. Don't be a hater.

Joe Berns 4 years, 7 months ago

Yep, thats what happens when you mix stale cookies with RG5 cables. They can't handle the packet i/o and collide which causes the intermittent loss. Seen it tons of times before, normally we upgrade these setups to token ring and limit the flow with a K56flex modem. Hopefully someone here will have half a brain and take these suggestions to heart.

aRobot 4 years, 7 months ago

Wow. Half a million dollars for network switches. What exactly was wrong with the old ones?

kusp8 4 years, 7 months ago

All your schools belong to us. LOVE IT!!

Don't start talking about token ring vs spoke network setup. You'll make their heads explode.

usesomesense 4 years, 7 months ago

Outages are to be expected when migrating technologies.
They're also to be expected when migrating to Juniper products - NOT a fan. The real question is this - where's the other $6 million going?

Alceste 4 years, 7 months ago

We reject kings, presidents and voting. We believe in: rough consensus and running code.

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