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U46 approves funding for emergency phone updates, repairs

The School District U46 Board of Education is moving forward with plans for emergency phone updates and repairs.

At a recent meeting, officials approved a purchase proposal in the amount of $93,451 for a new phone system server and software.

Officials intend to replace the phone system to support upgrades applied to change the district's emergency 911 functionality.

"To be clear, our schools could call out to 911, but unfortunately they would not know what time that call came in, where in the building that call was coming from," Chief Executive Officer Tony Sander said. "As a result, we did some emergency bids and were able to get a vendor to come in and help fix the telephone system."

School officials said they first learned several weeks ago of difficulties stemming from a need to improve the phone system's functionality, upgrade the emergency call-out function and eliminate the Transportation Department's phone issues.

School officials said moving forward with upgrades and repairs will correct operational issues stemming from the original design of the system, which is similar to a call support center.

Over the next year, personnel for the district will replace routers, and the district said this allows for a cost savings.

"Actually, it ended up less than what I presented to the board for authorization," Sanders said, noting a previous memo forward to the school officials.

The district said the project, which consists of planning and configuration of the server and analysis of the current system, is expected to reach completion no later than Aug. 1.

Payment to Sentinel Technology will be charged to the Education Fund.

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