For local schools, finding ways to cut costs can be challenging but allows more money to be spent directly on students. While trimming small costs here and there adds up, eliminating leased lines from telephone companies and making the change to VoIP phone systems can be a big savings with improved service. Pitt County Schools in North Carolina are one of the latest to upgrade and save big.
Goodbye Copper, Hello Fiber
The district owns a fiber optic network and has ditched copper wire telephone service in favor of a new VoIP system at nine of its facilities. The cost to replace the phone system at those facilities was $32,000 but the district reclaimed $13,000 so far by eliminating the need to lease copper phone lines.
District officials plan to replace all the phones in the district with a fiber based system at a cost of $210,000, pending the availability of funding. They estimate annual savings will be approximately $107,000, so the project will pay for itself in less than two years.
More Than A Trend
Carroll County Public Schools (CCPS) in Maryland and Austin's public schools in Texas found that switching from traditional phone lines to VoIP supported by fiber saved their districts significantly. CCPS began saving approximately $400,000 per year when they partnered with the county and several other entities to develop the Carroll County Public Network (CCPN). Austin Independent School District (AISD) collaborated with several other entities in Austin, Texas, and AISD’s investment in their network paid for itself in less than 3 years. In 2011, AISD estimated they saved almost $5.8 million in telephone and Internet connectivity avoided costs.
It's Not All About The Money
In Pitt County, school officials are finding better service is an added benefit:
In addition to saving money, the new phone system offers a variety of features, such as online call history and voicemail, an easier system for connecting calls to classrooms, better call quality and a higher possible number of simultaneous calls, as many as 350 for all schools combined, according to [Executive Director of Operations Matt] Johnson.
Pitt County Schools serve approximately 24,000 students from an ethnically diverse student body in eastern North Carolina. Greenville is the Pitt County seat and where much of the county’s 170,000 people live. The county is located in the east central part of the state, situated directly east of Wilson County.