2012 bond program will include phones for classrooms

The Houston Independent School District will roll out telephones for every permanent classroom in the district under the 2012 bond program, which includes $100 million for technology upgrades across all campuses.

The bond, which was approved by voters on Nov. 6, will fund voice-over-internet phones, as well as make improvements to wireless access.

The phones will allow teachers to more readily reach out to administrators, colleagues and parents.  Many of the district’s older campuses don’t have phones in the classroom, leaving teachers to use their personal cell phones at their own expense.

A phone in the classroom “would be a critical component to have,” said one elementary school special education teacher.

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The funding will also improve wireless access at the district’s 279 campuses. When that infrastructure is in place, principals will have the foundation they need to look at how they use technology to enhance classroom learning, including online textbooks, tablets and other mobile devices.

The district is already moving forward with its technology improvement plan and is seeking proposals for voice-over-internet phones, cabling, internet connectivity, and video services.  Interested suppliers are urged to look at the district’s procurement website for more details about the scope of work.

 The timeline involves interviewing potential firms in late November and December, and approving a proposal by mid-January.