Located just outside Denver, Colorado, Brush School District oversees the education of over 1,500 students each school year. The task has been made exceedingly difficult by a number of issues faced by many school districts across the nation today, including aging infrastructure, budget cuts and increasing educational performance demands.
For Brush School District, the problems had become acute and were creating significant impact. Their existing telephony infrastructure had aged beyond manufacturer end of life, becoming more difficult and expensive to maintain. Replacement parts were increasingly difficult to source when the district’s fragile infrastructure would periodically fail. The physical wiring at the district’s high school and middle schools was becoming more unreliable with time and could not be replaced cost effectively.
After reviewing options for implementing a new premise-based telephony infrastructure, the school district determined that the cost would be in excess of $100,000—well outside of their budget. Meanwhile, repairs on the existing system were costing the district nearly $4,000 annually.
In addition to the existing system’s age and unreliability, its lack of features and flexibility compounded the school district’s challenges. There was no centralized extension dialing network and no ability to perform emergency district-wide paging, forcing staff to dial separate numbers in 911 situations, losing vital minutes in a potential crisis. There was no easy method for sending voice mail via email when staff members were out of the office. No auto attendant features existed to handle incoming calls, and the system was unable to effectively manage conference calls.
“We had failing systems,” says Randy Dalton, Brush School District Director of Technology. “We couldn’t move the phones without a physical rewire and each building had a different system. We needed a new solution that would work with our budget but would also provide modern phone service.”
Adopting Micloud Business
After a long and careful review of their options, Brush School District selected Mitel’s MiCloud Business for Education solution for their 203-seat, five-site telephony infrastructure replacement. Completely cloud-based, MiCloud Business provided a highly reliable, feature-complete suite of hosted VoIP services – including extension dialing, auto attendant, call conferencing, E911 support, district-wide paging and voicemail-to-email capability – without the need to install new physical infrastructure.
With MiCloud Business, new phones and locations could be quickly and inexpensively provisioned via an easy-to-use GUI interface, offering an exceptionally productive administration experience that provided critical value for Brush School District. “Considering all our options, the reason we chose Mitel’s cloud-based communication system was that it was so easy to implement and manage,” says Dalton. “No upfront setup fees or ongoing support costs, and it gave us all the features we needed.”
Friendly to School Budgets, Delivering Real Results
Competing proposals from other vendors included a $75,000 upgrade to existing infrastructure, as well as another option that included an upfront $12,000 fee to assist the district in implementation. MiCloud Business, in contrast, is a subscription-based option that cost the district a reasonable monthly fee, and offered a cost structure that only included service capacity that Brush School District actually needed and used.
To make the value of Mitel’s solution even more attractive, MiCloud Business for Education is eligible for purchase under the federal E-Rate program. Created in 1996, the E-Rate program financially assists educational institutions and libraries in adopting affordable telecommunications and Internet services. With qualified E-Rate subsidies and rebates, the monthly cost of MiCloud Business to the district was reduced by almost two-thirds, easily driving the expense to within Brush School District budget requirements.
Once fully implemented, Brush School District’s new MiCloud Business-powered phone system interconnected the district’s five sites with a single centralized extension system, allowing them to finally go beyond the failings of their premise-based infrastructure, and focus on new technology challenges and educational programs.
MiCloud Business for Education: A Smart Solution for Schools
Since completing the transition to their new MiCloud phone system, Brush School District has been very satisfied with their new communication platform. The new infrastructure provides a uniform, standardized call system across the district and offers a broad menu of modern features that normally would only be possible in a large and expensive on-premise phone system deployment. For Brush School District staff, the cloud-based nature of the system is transparent and very easy to use.
“It’s just like any other phone you would use,” says Dalton. “MiCloud Business is still a conventional phone system, and the voice over IP uses our data infrastructure. But for school districts like ours, with distributed locations and limited resources, managing the system in the cloud really has solved many of our problems at once. We’ve been very happy with MiCloud Business.”