Cyber security on Wichita BOE’s agenda Monday

Wichita school board members will hear a recommendation Monday night to spend up to $2 million to upgrade the district's computer security.

WICHITA, Kansas – The Wichita school district is taking steps to keep its computer network safe after last year’s attempted hack of its district-wide system.

The Wichita school board meets Monday evening. They will decide whether they should move forward with a cyber security update.

The board will hear a recommendation from Superintendent John Allison and the Information Technology Department to spend up to $2 million on the security update.

Board member Lynn Rogers says the reason the bill is so high is because of last fall’s attempted hack into the system.

“We have 50,000 students to protect and 8,000 employees and a lot of vendors as well,” said Rogers. “There’s a lot of information we have to protect and keep confidential.”

Rogers says he doesn’t want a repeat of last year’s attempted hack and making sure the system is safe won’t be cheap.

“I’m sure this is a higher bill because of the data breaches that were attempted,” Rogers said. “Part of it is probably software that we need to protect ourselves.”

Rogers said the funding for the upgrade will come out of the district’s supplemental fund by using savings from a plan that was put on hold a few years ago. The district had been planning to update every computer in the district but saved money by not going forward with that proposal.

“Slowing that down has let us save some money and not spend it,” Rogers said. “Again, as a cost saving measure, but at a certain point, you have to replace a computer because it doesn’t have the fire power that you need to run today’s current software.”

Rogers warns, however, updating the system will be a continuous task for the district.

“I’m guessing at this time next year, we’ll have some additional software that we’ll need because again, the hackers keep getting better and more sophisticated.” Rogers said.

Rogers said he’s in favor of approving the recommendation to improve the network’s security. Other board members say they expect the recommendation to be adopted Monday night.

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