Home Schools Board of Education School district plans upgrade of its decade-old technology network with state ‘Smart...

School district plans upgrade of its decade-old technology network with state ‘Smart Schools Bond Act’ funding

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Riverhead school district is looking to install new, high-speed wireless internet that will improve speed, connectivity and security — all at no cost to the district.

Technology director Robert Hines unveiled the plan in a presentation at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.

“Here at Riverhead schools, we utilize our network for many services beyond just sharing files and internet,” Hines said. “Our network has ever-increasing demands. Our computers, laptops, servers, storage, video conferencing, printers, fax machines, security cameras, office phones, heating control, PA systems, emergency response systems — what they all have in common is they all rely on the network.”

View the district’s presentation on the plan.

“This plan looks to replace our active components — our routers, switches and firewalls — that are nearly a decade old. They’ve been running 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a decade with no summers off,” Hines said. “In terms of life-cycle, they’re considered ‘end of life,’ which means the manufacturer no longer offers support.”

The plan includes replacing “old, outdated and less reliable” network equipment with faster, higher capacity equipment, increasing bandwidth within each building as well as inter-building and increasing the security of the network by replacing the firewall.

“The internet has evolved in so many ways, and so we need to update our firewall capabilities to handle these new challenges and keep us safe,” Hines said.

The improvements would be done using money from the New York State Smart Schools Bond Act. The act authorizes the issuance of state bonds of up to two billion dollars to districts throughout New York State. The money is divided proportionally according to district size.

The bond reimburses schools for funds used towards improving technology and security in schools.

Riverhead was awarded $2,191,853 from the act, $813,000 of which will be used for these improvements. That leaves $1,378,853 for future use, with no deadline for when the school must apply for or use these funds.

Riverhead’s plan will be open to public comment for 30 days, as required by the act, at which point it the plan will be submitted for final approval to the state.

Public comments will be accepted through Nov. 18 via email at [email protected].