Kids on a computer with headphones

Case Study: A “mega” school district negotiates a better deal

Prince William County Public Schools (PWCPS) is a massive district. With 95 schools, over 10,000 employees and almost 90,000 students, it is the second largest school district in Virginia and the 36th largest in the nation.

As is the case in many mega-districts, PWCPS already had access to high-speed broadband. They had recently increased from 1 Gbps to 2 Gbps. But that was still not enough bandwidth to accommodate the growing technology demands of their large faculty and student population.

They were continually “maxing out” their bandwidth, so the district was interested in exploring options for more reliable service at an affordable cost. The district put in a request to their school board to upgrade their network’s bandwidth, and sought out additional support to make their broadband goals a reality.

GAINING MOMENTUM

Prince William County Public Schools found its support when an EducationSuperHighway state partner at the Virginia Department of Education shared our webinar on the K-12 Learning Infrastructure Program (KLIP). PWCPS attended the webinar and developed a plan to implement a successful upgrade.

Prince William’s Director of Information Technology Services, AJ Phillips, used Compare & Connect K-12 to see the kinds of broadband services that other large Virginia districts procured and to assess how their bandwidth pricing compared to that of other mega-districts. Utilizing EducationSuperHighway as a sounding board, AJ and her team created a strong E-rate Form 470, strengthening their positioning for service provider bids.

Prince William’s goal was to increase to at least 10 Gbps to prepare for future bandwidth demand, so it was important to make sure that the bids they received affordably addressed those needs.

PREPARED FOR THE FUTURE

The positive results of the procurement process meant significant increases not only for Prince William’s bandwidth (which increased ten times over), but to the mega-district’s ability to scale effectively for the future.

The district was able to enhance their “bring-your-own-device” policy, which will help them save on overall device costs. In addition, students with diabetes can now use iPads to connect with their health devices, sharing real-time information with their parents rather than having to forego learning time to call home.

Prince William’s bandwidth speed went from a total of 2 Gbps to 20, and their cost per Mbps went down from $3.95 to $1.85.

With Prince William County Public Schools’ significantly upgraded bandwidth and significantly lower cost per Mbps, this mega district is in a great position to meet its students’ growing digital learning needs for years to come.