The Wichita school district will nearly triple its spending for an internet protection service in hopes of preventing service disruptions that have plagued district schools.
On Monday evening, Wichita school board members voted 6-0 to approve an expanded contract with Denver-based Level 3 Communications for an additional $270,000 this school year. About four months ago, the board approved a $150,000 contract with the same company for a service called Always On Internet Protection.
Schools throughout the district have been experiencing “intermittent internet issues,” including outages, over the past week, said district spokeswoman Susan Arensman. The issue is not a bandwidth problem, she said.
Arensman said the expenditure approved Monday as part of the board’s consent agenda is aimed at preventing further service disruptions.
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“It’s additional support,” Arensman said following Monday’s vote, which came without discussion or details about the contract or additional services the company would provide.
Arensman said Cathy Sweeney, the district’s chief information officer, was hesitant to share details about the changes because of concerns about internet security.
In 2015, the Wichita school district was the victim of a hacking attempt that prompted officials to disable its Synergy student information system for more than a week. The system – along with its corresponding programs, ParentVue and StudentVue – manages student grades, attendance, emergency contacts and other information.