I work in a small to mid size rural district with what I consider to be a fair amount of tech resources available. I'm curious as to how other districts support technology as far as Network administrators, technicians, etc. When something breaks what is the process to get it fixed? How many people make up your tech support team? Do you HAVE a tech support team? What size district do you work?

Tags: support, technology

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LOL.....I once worked for a District that the office employees wanted me to fix a paper-shredder......apparently, they mistook it for a book-shredder. Needless to say, armed with a trusty butter knife, it met its match with me!
that trusty butter knife might have helped with the toaster! or at least with the toast the new one for $12.00 made!.*LOL*
Nitin, just out of curiosity, how many employees does your company have?
"What John has described will likely result in the internal IT staff getting overwhelmed with day-to-day work and not having the time to think strategically about leveraging their IT assets."
-After 10 years, it hasn't yet.........and I don't think the amount of technology assets and useage will likely increase anywhere near as quickly over the next 10 years as it has over the last 10.

"I honestly believe, however, that by bringing in outside technology partners, school districts can provide better IT services at lower cost than they can by going it alone."
-I think this is what the "solution providers" just don't understand about the smaller districts. There is no way a district with limited financial resources is going to continue to pay a full-time salary for a Technology Director that needs to outsource "his" work, which is an additional expenditure to the district. Because, when all is said an done, "partnering" with a vendor or provider, does not eliminate the need to have someone there all day, full-time. And if it did, what Tech Coordinator would in his right mind put himself out of a job?
I am an IT support administrator for a large school district 70 campuses and growing. Fair amount of staff is a hard number to come up with. It really depends on a few factors not just your available budget for salaries. Take a look at your network infrastructure and your current situation regarding end-user support.

From a network support side depending on the server side solutions you already have in place some have maintenance packages available which would not require staffing. Other systems may have an online type of support where support personnel can simply remote into the system and correct software related problems, perform upgrades and recommend hardware upgrade solutions.

I think end-user support is somewhat more critical and not just because there are more end users than that of servers. It is more critical because it is this technology that is in front of students and much more visible to those who pay for it - taxpayers. While top manufacturers like Dell and HP have onsite technical support services, this is becoming more challenging because of univited visitors who schools try to catch at the front door (one reason RAPTOR has become such a wonderful tool) . In house technical staff is more common, but can be expensive because of facilities, salaries and turnover. Technicians can be hired and trained but many who come into the field want to move up fast (I am living proof) and the end result is a quick turnover of staff and the hiring and training process starts all over again.

When I started at the district I am at we had 8 technicians, 4 engineers and 2 network technicians for 60 sites. Now we have 26 technicians, 7 engineers, and 4 network technicians for 70 sites. This increase was due to the fact that every campus had a Campus Network Coordinator. A teacher who also wore the hat of a basic technician. This CNC was responsible for looking at problems and reporting them to the technicians through a work order system. This created a problem because the expectation became to overwhelming for some CNC's and other CNC's performed more of these responsibilities than that of their primary role - teaching. As a result, the CNC program was disolved and funding was allocated so additional IT Support staff could be hired. This required a great deal of planning.

The plan worked for us and continues to improve. We took our large high school campuses and worked with the campus administrator so a technician could be on site every school day. We did the same thing with the middle schools (1 technician for every 2 middle schools), and the remaining campuses and departments were assigned technicians at a 7:1 ratio. This helped us balance the work load and address problems very quickly.

I realized that it was not so much the completion of work that was important, that did not change much - it was the first response to the problem that was more vital. This is why communication with those who report problems is very important. The sooner they report it the sooner your IT department can fix it and the IT folks can't fix problems they know nothing about. It is also a good idea to find some time to educate your users. As an IT support person, teach these users to report to you symptoms and not fixes - they are not the IT expert - YOU ARE, it would make your job a whole lot easier.

I would be happy to work with you if you would like, mcaise24@msn.com



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