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School district's new chief technology officer Mike Morrison

Q & A:

April 15, 2014|By Bryce Alderton
  • Mike Morrison, Laguna Beach Unified School District's chief technology officer, negotiated contracts with Cox Communications to boost speed to the Internet at or below current costs.
Mike Morrison, Laguna Beach Unified School District's… (Laguna Beach Unified…)

Mike Morrison remembers geeking out on his Apple IIe, marveling at its capabilities. He thinks back to when email meant a once-a-day alert that a group of messages was ready to read. How times have changed. The former elementary school teacher and Laguna Beach Unified School District's newest chief technology officer enters at a critical time as students prepare to take new standardized state tests on computers, whether on traditional desktops or Google Chromebooks. Boosting speed to the Internet was one of Morrison's first tasks and he successfully negotiated a deal that will provide increased speed. Morrison, 46, a Trabuco Canyon resident and Southern California native, discussed this matter and his hopes for the district's technology infrastructure.

Question: What have you been working on?

Answer: One of my goals is single sign-on, which allows users to sign on to one location and access all of their applications. That is the base level of any IT project, to make sure your directory is set up right.

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I renegotiated the contract with Cox Communications. Right now we have 50 MB to the Internet. Cox was willing to increase that to [1 GB], which is 20 times the speed at the same cost we have now. I also negotiated the line from [the district] to each school, which now is 500 MB. They were willing to increase to [1 GB], double the speed [for $360 less per month], which will be important for testing and future growth. (The board of trustees approved the contracts with Cox at its March 25 meeting.)

Q: How is the district moving toward one student for every tablet or mobile device?

A: We're going to have work with the community to find out how that will look. We have a few devices already. This might be a combination of students bringing their own device and us supplementing that with our own devices. I'd suggest parent surveys to find out what equipment they do have and what equipment they would be willing to bring in. There will need to be a lot of community outreach to get feedback.

Q: What lured you to Laguna from Saddleback Valley Unified School District?

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