Burbank school board looks at next Internet step

Burbank school officials unveiled a proposal Thursday that would, in part, expand high-speed Internet service throughout district schools by 2017.

The cost of the project would be funded by proceeds of Measure S, a bond measure passed by voters in March. Officials, however, said they do not yet have a firm estimate of the price tag.

Charles Poovakan, director of information and technology for the district, provided the board during the special meeting with an overview of the district's current computing power and a suggested timeline on how to best build out its technological infrastructure.

The current data center — a 170-by-180-foot room — is too small, said Poovakan, suggesting the hub be moved to a district-owned warehouse.

Though the timeline proposed that digital textbooks be used beginning in the 2015-16 school year, Poovakan encouraged the board to wait to purchase the devices, saying that they are still in the "infancy stage."

But there is another reason for waiting.

"These devices run off a wireless network – a wireless network that we don't have," he said.

Currently, six Burbank schools are equipped with wireless Internet. More than half of Burbank's 20 schools have pockets of Internet connectivity.

Among Poovakan's next tasks will be to work with the board to determine how much bandwidth schools will need, a determination that will affect cost.

Poovakan said he is continuing to seek feedback from teachers on electronic white boards, also known as smart boards.

A technology committee will focus on how the district will spend its bond money on 21st-century tools.

Supt. Jan Britz said the group will encompass teachers from every Burbank school.

"The teachers — this is really what they want to be involved in as far as bond expenditures," she said.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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