Dear Editor

The VoIP Payoff

After reading “The ROI of VoIP,” I wanted to share our district’s story. We recently finished our migration to VoIP. After a pilot to show administrators how the system works and a detailed analysis of cost savings and containment, I was able to demonstrate the district would save $400,000 per year. To give you some background, the district spent 2.2 million dollars 10 years ago on a leased Centrex system. The district paid the lease upfront, with the phones costing $525 a piece. The lease ended in February 2006. I received quotes from SBC to continue the lease and it was going to cost over $28,000 per month for 1,800 leased lines.

To break it down, it was going to cost us $482,000 to run Centrex. It was going to cost us $101,800 to run a Cisco VoIP system, saving the district $380,000 per year (These figures exclude the usage charges from SBC). Additionally, we worked out a multi-service discount with SBC that will save us an additional $17,000 in local, directory assistance, and long distance charges. The project cost the district $1.2 million dollars. This total included replacement of the phone system, an upgrade from a 10mbps to a 300mbps wireless backup system between our campuses, and completing 100 percent wireless coverage in four of our schools to support wireless VoIP and our laptop program. The savings will provide an ROI in three years and we will own the system.

VoIP is not only going to save us money, it’s going to take us into the future. The phones can run XML applications that we can tie in with our student information system, and there are other programs like attendance that we can run on the phones. At the same time we integrated unified communication during the migration, which allows us to have voicemail come into our e-mail boxes and inbound faxes sent to our e-mail.

Keith A. Bockwoldt
Director of Technical Systems and Support
Township High School District 214
Arlington Heights, IL

More E-Learning Coverage, Please

I was disappointed to find nothing about online education on School CIO. As project leader for CoSN’s Emerging Technologies committee, one of the issues that has come up is the disconnect some CIOs have with instruction. I want to encourage you to help school CIOs think about the infrastructure they need to put in place to bring more online opportunities to students. We can't afford to tinker any longer. Bill Gates’s effort with small schools has been tinkering—and the data to date doesn't show a radical change in student outcomes. We need more radical reform and CIOs are critical to that effort. I hope you'll find ways to keep online education on the screen.

Raymond Rose
President, Rose & Associates
Wilmington, NC