COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 156
September 20, 1996

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Discounted Telephone Rates

 
  The existing telecommunications rate structure for telephone
  lines in public schools is costly and has made the infusion
  of technology into the classroom more difficult given
  limited financial resources.   One exception to this rate
  structure is set forth in Section 56-232 "Contract of
  Telephone Companies with State Government" and Section 56-234
  "Contracts for Service Rendered by a Telephone Company
  for State Government."  This exception provides for lower
  rates to be established for use by the state government and
  negotiation of special rates outside the current structure
  for residential or commercial use.
  
  Because of these concerns, the 1996 General Assembly
  included language in the 1996-98 Appropriations Act which
  requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the
  Director of the Council on Information Management to
  negotiate the rates for such lines (See Superintendents
  Memorandum #78).  The language includes communication lines
  used for educational technology in public schools under the
  "state" structure, and authorizes the superintendent and
  director to encourage the development of "by-pass"
  infrastructure in localities where competitive price or
  prices consistent with the best rates in other parts of the
  state cannot be obtained.  The State Corporation Commission
  (SCC) is encouraged to make discounts for intrastate
  services to elementary and secondary schools and libraries
  for educational purposes as large as possible and to fund
  such discounts through the universal fund (established
  pursuant to the Telecommunications Act of 1996).
  
  This memorandum has two purposes:  (1) to provide you with a
  description of three known projects available or soon to be
  available with the objective to provide lower rates for
  public schools, and (2) to provide some questions to be
  considered when contracting which may help you choose
  services through all or some of these projects.
  
  SUPTS. Memo
 September 20, 1996
 Page 2
  
  
     1.   1996 General Assembly Authorization to
          Superintendent of Public Instruction and the
          Director of the Council on Information Management
     
          A series of meetings held during the spring and
          summer of 1996 involved the two agency leaders and
          their staffs, a representative of the SCC, and a
          Senate Finance staff analyst.  The results of the
          meetings and discussions with school leaders
          suggest an approach to expand upon developing
          regional school division telephone service
          contract for long distance voice services to
          include all school divisions.  In this contract,
          discount rates  will be sought for all school
          divisions.  Additionally, in the future some
          school division contract originators will be asked
          to include the same offer.  A review of fiber
          availability within the state including the last
          mile, and Internet access have been requested from
          the Virginia Telecommunications Association.  
  
     2.   Virginia Tech/Old Dominion/VCCS Contract
  
          This is a multi-agency arrangement for ATM-based
          network services with fully integrated internet
          services in which Bell Atlantic provides digital
          connectivity from the end user to Sprint which
          provides network switching and inter-LATA
          delivery.  Virginia Tech, as the contractor,
          provides coordination with schools through a
          contract administrator.  This contract is
          available to schools across the Commonwealth of
          Virginia and provides comprehensive service
          options at extremely competitive pricing without
          administrative overhead charges.
  
  Contact Ms. Patricia Jackson at (804) 786-8130 for
  information about the Virginia Tech/ODU/VCCS Contract.
  
     3.   Department of Information Technology Contract
  
          DIT's information technology service offerings are
          available to all Virginia local governments
          including local school divisions.  Voice, data and
          video offerings are available.  Equipment
          contracts and consulting services are also
          available.  DIT offers end-to-end, turn-key
          solutions.  All DIT network services require no
          long term commitments and are billed at regular
          monthly intervals.  Consulting services for
          network design and implementation for voice, data
          and video services are also available.
  SUPTS. Memo
  September 20,1996
  Page 3
  
  
          
          
  Contact Tom Kusiak, at (804) 371-5918, e-mail
  tkusiak.dit@state.va.us or Leslie Carter, at (804) 371-5577,
  e-mail lcarter.dit@state.va.us for information about the
  Department of Information Technology Contract.
  
  Attachment A provides some questions schools may find useful
  when deciding to purchase available and future telephone
  services for infrastructure and networking recommended in
  the State Board's K-12 Six-Year Educational Technology Plan
  for Virginia and in local technology long-range plans. 
  Attachment A is not intended to be either a directive or a
  complete document.  The intent is to provide timely
  Department of Education technical assistance to schools.
  
     Contact Hud Croasdale at (804) 225-3622 or Ida Hill at (804)
  225-2757 for information concerning the School Division
  Contract and related activities.
  
  
  
  RLP/emt
  
  Attachment:  This memo and its attachment will be sent to
               the superintendent's office
  
                                                   Attachment A
                                                           
         Questions to be Considered When Contracting 
                             for
        K-12 Educational Technology Telephone Services
                                
  
  A. Costs to School Division
  
     1.   What are the total costs for this technology?  For
          each school, please break out by:
          a.   Hardware
          b.   Software
          c.   Cable for new internal lines to be installed
          d.   Labor for new internal lines to be installed
          e.   Cable for any new external lines required
          f.   Labor for new external lines to be installed
          g.   Cost of switching service from external
               provider
          h.   On-going maintenance/warranty costs
          i.   Monthly line/service charges
  
     2.   Will the system require more or less technology
          support staffing?
     3.   Will school phone lines be replaced by service
          through this system?  At what cost?
     4.   Will the network require upgrades in hardware and
          software during the term of the contract?  Who
          pays?
     5.   What options are available to my division?  What
          are the costs?
     6.   How do I get the service if fiber is not available
          at my school?  What will it cost?
     7.   With what networks will this service interface? 
          Please specify as precisely as possible
          identifying voice, video, or data, and the type of
          technology involved (for example, ATM, fast
          ethernet).
  
  B. Operation
  
     1.   Who manages the system/network?
     2.   What are the benefits of this system/network to my
          students, schools, division, and homes?
     3.   What response time for repairs can be expected? 
          Compare to current system?
     4.   Who guarantees technical assistance,
          troubleshoots, and makes repairs?  Who pays?
  
  C. Future
  
     1.   What on-going discussions beyond the contract
          being considered might benefit schools' telephone
          rates?
     2.   What proposals are being offered by utility, gas,
          and cable companies for Internet services, fiber
          and discounted rates?