New operational technology at Stratford schools like the food service program and the student information system require constant attention and support that the current staffing is struggling to provide.
"We've lost three positions and have gained a lot of technology," Ed Molloy, director of technology for Stratford schools, said at a school budget committee meeting last week. "I don't have staff to hand these projects off to."
While the online student information system, PowerSchool -- which logs grades, attendance and more -- requires more support staff in order to function properly, Molloy in a telephone interview said the most "significant" project is the food service program.
The online service called Nutrikids was rolled out two years ago and now serves 59 percent or 4,107 of the district's students. Nutrikids allows parents to deposit funds into an online account that the student accesses by punching in a pin when he or she goes to purchase lunch.
"It directly impacts parents so you hear it more," Molloy said. "Parents can go online at three in the morning, it needs to be up."
Instructional Technology on the Sidelines?
Molloy says he spends hours on support calls with Nutrikids technical staff and as the only educator in his department that takes up time he could be using to focus on more instructional technology which would benefit kids in the classroom.
Two of the three positions removed in the last few years dealt with integrating technology at Stratford schools. A coordinator of instructional technology ($120,000) used to write curriculum and work with the district's librarians; and a technology integration teacher ($90,000) had been employed to work alongside the coordinator.
There is some hope, however, that a new position in the school budget for next year will free up some time for Molloy and his current staff of five to turn the focus back on instructional technology by first corralling the operational side.
A database administrator ($56,765) is included in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2013-14. Molloy said the administrator would concentrate on the Nutrikids system.
"The board recognizes the investment in technology needs a staff to support it," Molloy said. "I've stretched and delegated our staff as much as possible."