Polk County Schools to test new phone system

Published 1:38 pm Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Polk County Schools officials plan on testing a computer phone service called a Voice Over IP (VoIP) through e-Polk PANGAEA if an agreement can be reached with current phone service Windstream to release the needed phone numbers.

According to Polk County Schools Technology Director Dave Scherping, the cost-cutting trial will start with a couple of phones in his office Sept. 20 and then spread to the bus garage and Early College if found to be effective.

Were looking for a more economical way to run our phone systems, said Scherping. We are a very large phone user, and we think e-Polk and PANGAEA can provide a more economical way to run our phones as well as give us additional features that are unavailable to us right now.

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Those features include caller ID and call-forwarding to cell phones and to other offices.

Weve been using a traditional phone system and it works great we have no issues with them, said Scherping. But we do have an extensive list of features that need to be added.

If the trial is successful, the VoIP system would eventually be introduced throughout Polk County Schools.

But the first step is getting Windstream to release the numbers currently used by Polk County Schools, which Scherping said the company is not required to do under law.

Were a big customer for them and theyve invested a lot in this area, said Scherping of Windstream. So, theyre not required to make that move and theyve been unwilling to move them.

Scherping said negotiations are ongoing to move the required numbers and lines for the VoIP by the Sept. 20 start date.