Wednesday, January 12, 2011

San Diego Unified School District's Proposition S Program Improves Technology and Saves $35 Million

To support its 21st Century Interactive Classroom Initiative (known as "i21"), San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is upgrading technology infrastructure at its schools. The digital learning environment for students and teachers is being enhanced with high-speed, wireless internet connectivity in classrooms throughout the district.

Over the next three years, this work will significantly improve internet and telecommunication capacity across the district. The work provides data infrastructure projected to serve digital learning for the next 15 years.

"The FCC E-rate program helps those schools that need it most get connected in the digital age." said Stuart Markey, executive director of the Capital Improvement Bond Program (Prop. S). "We would not be able to do the scope of technology work in the district without this terrific program. My 'hat is off' to our facilities and technology staff who have aggressively and persistently sought out these dollars."

Nearly 80 of the district's schools meet the criteria for a federally-funded program known as "E-rate," which is designed to ensure that all eligible schools and libraries have affordable access to modern telecommunications and information services. Under this program, these schools will also move from analog telephone systems to Voice over Internet Protocol, which will dramatically reduce operational costs. Approximately $2 billion annually is available to provide eligible schools and libraries with discounts under the E-rate program for authorized services.

In order to take advantage of this program, the school district is accelerating the scheduling of infrastructure projects at several eligible schools. Performing these technology improvements through this program will save the district a minimum of $35 million.

SDUSD's i21 Initiative, and the infrastructure that supports it, are funded by Proposition S. i21 is a five-year, phased plan that began during the summer of 2009. Through i21 each classroom receives an interactive whiteboard, audio-visual cabinet, teacher presentation station and wireless voice amplification system, as well as a document camera and DVD player. It also provides a laptop for each teacher and principal, and a netbook (small laptop) for each student.

For more information on the E-rate projects/program or the i21 Interactive Classroom Initiative, please contact Cynthia Reed-Porter at or (619) 546-3378.