DD2 to bring technology dept. in-house to save money, work efficiently

DD2 will be looking to bring its technology department back in house after previously outsourcing it, costing taxpayers in the process.
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 3:54 PM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2023 at 10:22 PM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester School District Two will be looking to bring its technology department back in house after previously outsourcing it, costing taxpayers in the process.

Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins said the change will help save them hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, which, he said, will go back to its employees.

“When you consider 26,000 students, 3,800 employees, and a device for every single one of them, but right now, we’re estimating it’s going to reduce our costs by about $600,000 a year,” Robbins said.

In recent years, the district had been paying around $1.9 million annually to outsource its technology department to Cantey, a local tech company.

“Some districts have no choice,” Robbins said. “They’re so small they can’t maintain the staff skilled to maintain that digital ecosystem. We’re large enough that we feel we can recruit, retain and educate and train employees to be able to do that in-house.”

Dr. Isti Sanga is the district’s new Chief Technology Officer. He will be overseeing the hiring of four network administrators and 16 technicians, who will based at district schools starting July 1.

“[We want to] create an environment that actually takes advantage of the digital environment that we have right now,” Sanga said. “One of those things that we have done is make sure that our classroom reflects that digital learning environment as well.”

Once they are hired, Sanga said they will work with Cantey to help transition the department using the knowledge they’ve built up.

He adds that the move will allow the district to respond to issues quicker and work more efficiently while making sure students and staff have the technology they need.

“Make sure we align the systems the networking systems, WiFi, and all of that with instructional technology and data to form and to create a better environment,” Sanga said. “We call it the model learning environment. That’s what we’re working to improve. We really want to see that come forward, and this will allow us to do that without any impediments from any others.”

Dr. Sanga will also be overseeing a refresh of student devices for those in grades 6 through 12 for next school year.

The district said they are stepping away from Windows laptops and moving to Chromebooks for students to use at a cost of around $6 million.

“We are going to reach students with devices that are very easy, better for our system as we move forward,” Sanga said.

Robbins hopes the move will also give teachers more time to educate students and foresees keeping the department in-house for the long-term.

“If we become more efficient with the use of our technology, we hope that’s going to create time for them,” he said.