Lessons Learned by a Public School’s Switch to MultiLine.
Public school districts are facing unprecedented shortfalls in funding, with more than half of the U.S. (29 states) providing less total school funding per student since 2008, according to the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. For administrators like Matt Ross, Director of Technology for Connecticut’s Farmington Public Schools district, this means that every aspect of their budget is under scrutiny, even as there’s more and more pressure on administrators and teachers to keep open the lines of communication with parents and others to support K-12 students.
The problem with administrators & teachers using personal phones for school business
The mission of Farmington Public Schools is to, “enable all students to achieve academic excellence, exhibit persistent effort, and live as resourceful, inquiring, and contributing global citizens.” One key to support this mission is to ensure administrators and educators have tools necessary to foster communication and problem-solving for the benefit of the students and the community at large. With these powerful directives in mind, Farmington Public School District administrators had a problem: while they were in the habit of providing district-issued mobile phones and phone numbers to school administrators, the corporate-owned devices posed several issues, including: ◊ Expensive: It cost upwards of $25,000 annually to manage district-owned devices, including IT overhead and annual cellular services. ◊ Logistics: This included confusion over which mobile phone to use when (school issued vs. personal) to how to get consistent, reliable carrier coverage both in school and at home. ◊ Inconvenient: The physical burden of having to carry around and manage two phones was both cumbersome and frustrating to district employees. ◊ Privacy: District employees were also concerned about compromising their privacy by giving out their personal phone numbers to parents, students and others.
Solving the problem with MultiLine
After evaluating the number of users on the Farmington Public Schools account, Matt realized that because the majority of district staff had their own mobile devices, it would be both economical and efficient to move to a solution that would enable him to shift away from district-issued phones. His Sprint rep introduced him to the cloud-based MultiLine solution powered by Movius, and Matt agreed to a pilot program. The results were immediate and profound. By jettisoning the use of district-owned devices, the only “maintenance” left to Farmington Public Schools is ensuring that the app is properly installed on employees’ phones for it to run smoothly. As Matt notes:
“Right off the bat, I can tell you that there is a cost savings. The difference between issuing a full device with service or just paying for Sprint’s MultiLine service is cost is cut in half. It meets our needs of having a unique district-owned, districtprovided contact number without all of the additional overhead or some of the additional costs associated with providing full service.”
From a logistics standpoint, the integration of the app-based technology was fast and easy to implement. Employees enthusiastically embraced the ease of carrying just one device, and any spotty coverage on campus was addressed by giving teachers and administrators access to school Wifi while at work. The privacy issue was also solved with the MultiLine solution, as Matt says: “We’re still giving them a district-issued contact number that they can share with whomever – community members, other administrators, parents. They don’t have to worry about giving their personal number out.” He goes on to add that “[MultiLine] has reduced our management overhead and is more cost-effective.”
Lesson learned: when it comes to saving time, money and effort in a public school setting where all comes at a premium, the Sprint MultiLine solution powered by Movius gets an “A.”