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Buffalo and its public schools agree to combine computer networks

Eileen Buckley
WBFO News File Photo

Buffalo Public Schools and city government may soon be using the same glass fiber web lines to provide better and cheaper IT services for both.

Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash told the Buffalo School Board Wednesday night that he and Mayor Byron Brown have agreed to combine their computer networks, with immediate savings for both and major potential savings for the city in the near future. The superintendent said the two sides have been talking for months about sharing their networks and made the deal Wednesday.

"We'll continue and we'll save about $350,000 right away," Cash said, "and the city will save, in that they won't have to invest millions of dollars to go out and build up the infrastructure that we already have. I just think it's a good idea."

Both sides are dependent on their computer systems and their networks, but they are very expensive. Cash told the board it won't be simple to keep school data and city police data separate, but the two sides have promised law enforcement agencies it will happen.

"The city is struggling right now with the need to join its system with a big bandwidth that will handle their needs and, at the same time, not infringe upon or hinder our instructional and information technology needs," Cash said.

He said the plan could allow the school district to have the same WiFi capabilities as suburban areas, so city students will have the same computer access in their homes as in the suburbs. That is an increasing issue as the district starts to let high school seniors and juniors take their district laptops home at night.

"If this works well - because we want to bring WiFi and internet acess, as you say, and greater speed to every household in the city, as well - so it's a start and then maybe the county and other agencies will join us."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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