During the 2020-2021 school year, our Network Specialist in the USD 495 Tech Department resigned. After several interviews, it became clear that our budget could not meet the average business salary for a Network Specialist. As a result, we began searching for other options, including companies that offer managed network services.
As a school district, we qualify for a federal funding program called E-Rate. E-Rate provides funding to school districts for select technology services and equipment that aid in providing Internet services to students at school. The funding amount is based on the percentage of free and reduced students within our district. Currently, any approved services or equipment available via E-Rate is covered at 80% of the cost. One of the services available to school districts is the management of network services. After evaluating bid proposals from four different companies, the USD 495 School Board approved K12itc as our network service management provider.
K12itc, based out of Kansas City, Missouri, manages our servers, switches, wireless access points, and printers. They also provide an online ticketing system available for USD 495 employees to report technical issues. With the addition of K12itc, our district quickly shifted from two individuals working to meet all the technology needs and issues throughout the district to a team of individuals who specialize in different areas of technology.
Another advantage we have experienced with the services of K12itc is Cybersecurity. As phishing and ransomware attacks continue to increase, school districts are being forced to purchase cybersecurity software and training to help protect student data. This software often comes at a higher price than most rural school districts can afford. As part of our services with K12itc, we receive high-quality cybersecurity for all of our sensitive data. In addition, we receive secure redundancy and backup services if our data should equipment fail or become compromised by a potential attack.
While no change or transition is easy, our technology department continues to meet on a regular basis with the assigned Customer Success team at K12itc. K12itc works with us to provide the best possible technology solutions for our staff and students so our students receive the best learning environment that we can provide them.