LCSD to use fed funds to upgrade

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Plans are slowly but surely coming together for the Lafayette County School District to have an updated communications and technology system in place.

The federal program that allocates a percentage of funds every five years for infrastructural improvement in telecommunications is beginning to phase out funds for older technology.

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“The days of running a copper wire to wherever you want a telephone hooked up are just about over,” Lafayette School District Technology Coordinator McNeil Stanford said. “It’s all going digital and going based on Internet and IP address.”

Stanford said the district is guaranteed around $450,000 worth of federal funds through E-Rate, a federal program commonly known as the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund. The Universal Service Administrative Company, under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission, administers it.

The program recently has revamped some of the qualifications and requirements for funding to encourage school districts to update communication technology.

For the older style of telecommunications, the program has reduced the percentage of funding from 85 percent to 60 percent.

Stanford said the funding is gradually phasing out for “voice” communication. Instead, the communication will be transitioning to “voice-over IP,” which is accomplished through new fiber-optic technology.

Although in the beginning of technology updates throughout the district, officials are preparing for the inevitable switch to a newer system.

Lafayette School Superintendent Adam Pugh said although the district is operating efficiently with the current system, the phone system is refurbished because it is no longer made.

“We’re still good now, but that is something that is coming soon,” Pugh said.