BY JENNIFER MADRIGAL
Eastvale – The Corona-Norco Unified School District, consisting of 49 schools, is the largest school district in Riverside County, and the ninth largest district in California. CNUSD has been providing quality education to more than 53,000 students for over 120 years.
With eight schools – soon to be nine with the opening of Ronald Regan Elementary – in the City of Eastvale ensconced in CNUSD, local citizens have a keen ear tuned into talk of improvements that will upgrade outdated facilities and technologies, and bring some relief to the overcrowding that prevents some children from being able to attend their home school.
Up for vote at the Nov. 4 General Election is Measure GG, the $396 million bond that proposes to address the needs of outdated and aging facilities and technology. If approved, it will provide local funding to CNUSD schools that cannot be taken away by the state. On the bond’s agenda is the completion of Ronald Regan Elementary that should help, somewhat, with Eastvale’s overcrowding issues.
Technology, however, seems to be the biggest concern since most Eastvale schools are still relatively new. CNUSD Superintendent, Dr. Michael H. Lin, attended the Oct. 28 Eastvale Town Hall Meeting and provided a brief update. One of the key points of his report was a summary of the technology upgrades that the District has been working on.
The Los Angeles Unified School District famously suspended their $1 Billion iPad Program, of which half would have gone to Apple for the equipment, and the other half to upgrading the Wi-Fi and infrastructure for the schools. However, that district had already spent $61 million dollars on iPads for 58 schools, and now those schools do not have the infrastructure to support all the new technology. This is an example that Dr. Lin used when discussing the need for a correct and adequate infrastructure being put in place before the technology is acquired.
“The worst thing we could do would be to invest money into technology and not have the capacity to handle it,” said Lin.
For the past five to seven years, CNUSD has been proactive in building up the infrastructure so that the schools and the District would be able to support the growing technology. This “Back Bone Infrastructure” has included the installation of a 1-Gigabyte Fiber Link from each of the 49 schools back to the District office, according to Assistant Superintendent of IT, Dan Odipo. In addition, the District has been working on increasing Internet connectivity, as well as getting wireless technology to all of the schools.
Cloud-based sharing, or technology, is basically offline computing in which large groups of remote servers are networked to allow centralized data storage and access. “Clouds” can be classified as public, private – or even hybrid – making this technology the perfect vehicle for school districts and other large network businesses.
One of the issues, according to Odipo, is the lack of funds for wireless upgrades.
“We would like to be able to do all the upgrades at once, so that if we do a Level 1 Upgrade at one site – and then have to stop and come back – by the time we get back to that site, it’s already outdated,” Odipo said. He went on to express his desire to be able to upgrade all the schools as technology improves and enrollment grows.
Bill Newberry, Board of Education Member for CNUSD, says that “The District really has a handle on technology, and has been working closely with Cisco Systems and Microsoft to make this Cloud-based sharing a reality.”
With the basic “Back Bone Infrastructure” in place, Lin hopes that the passing of the Measure GG Bond will enable the District to continue with technology upgrades, including the continued advancement of the wireless infrastructure.
K.P. Sander contributed to this story.