Re-1 callers get busy signal
David McGavock, the technology director at Roaring Fork School District Re-1, has been busy this week, just like the district’s phone lines. On Monday morning Re-1 staff showed up to work, from Glenwood Springs to Basalt, to find dead phone lines. Teachers, principals, and staff couldn’t call out of the schools, and no one was able to call in. People calling the phone lines got a busy signal.”They were just deader than a doornail,” said Judy Haptonstall, assistant superintendent for Re-1. “They’ve been working frantically to get it fixed.”The district didn’t know if the problem was inside their system or outside, and had Re-1’s technology people, Qwest and outside groups working to diagnose the problem. It turned out that the problem was in the district’s system. “There’s a little card, a controller card, that handles all the T-1 connections to our buildings and it failed,” McGavock said. The district was on the phone with a Boulder vendor by noon trying to get a replacement, but the vendor wouldn’t sell Re-1 a replacement without an account, even if Re-1 offered to show up at the company’s door with cash. Eventually McGavock had the Siemens company, which handles Re-1’s phone system, vouch for Re-1.The Boulder vendor went along with the plan, but then overnighted the replacement card to Siemens in Salt Lake City. After a lot of “hurry up and wait” Monday and Tuesday, McGavock had somebody drive to Boulder to pick up the replacement Tuesday afternoon. District staff surely noticed the lack of ringing phones this week, but many parents may have been none the wiser. The district hasn’t had any complaints from parents about not being able to get in touch with the schools, Haptonstall said.”I think every other kid in the schools has a cell phone, so there’s been no lack of communication,” she said. District and building administrators all have cell phones as well, she said. In an emergency, schools wouldn’t be totally isolated, she said, thanks to “bat lines” at each school. The bat line is a regular phone line that doesn’t go through the district’s phone system; it’s only used in emergencies.McGavock said the phones likely would be up and running by 1 or 2 a.m. today, assuming that the card’s failure didn’t cause any other problems.
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