State grant to help pay for schools’ VoIP phone systems

Kim Robins - Posted on Sep 11, 2013 - 01:40 PM

Gloucester County Public School has been awarded a $77,259 state grant for security equipment, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced last week.

The school division initially requested $100,000 in grant funds for added security equipment, according to John Hutchinson, the GCPS assistant superintendent for administrative services.

The grant is part of $6 million in school security equipment grants awarded last week by McDonnell. The funds can be used to pay for security-related equipment, including video monitoring systems, metal detectors, electronic-access controls, visitor ID systems and communications systems.

Hutchinson said GCPS will use the funds to provide voice over internet protocol phone (VoIP) systems at Achilles and Botetourt elementary schools and Gloucester High School.

The school division is currently using about $130,000 in unspent capital improvement funds to provide the VoIP phone systems at Petsworth, Bethel and Peasley schools, along with the Walker Education Center.

GCPS technology director Jim Brogan said GHS has about 100 VoIP phones in place, with about 75 digital phones still in use. He said the new grant money, although less than requested, should be enough to fully move GHS to VoIP phones, as well as Achilles and Botetourt. "It’s going to be close," he added.