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Creation of a Technology Oversight Committee
Immediately after joining the Board Mark advocated creation of a Technology Oversight Committee (TOC), comprising volunteer experts from the private and public sectors. After controversy and negotiation among the Board and staff, a unanimous Board eventually created the TOC. Currently chaired by an IBM network engineer, and including the IT directors of a major local bank and two other school districts, the TOC has played an important role in helping staff to improve TUSD’s notoriously weak IT infrastructure and procurement.
Mark still get reports of IT problems at schools, and there have been significant problems in the execution of both hardware and software initiatives. Nonetheless, TUSD is making significant progress toward fixing this area of long and notorious deficiency. Dr. Pedicone’s administration was committed to working on these problems from the start, but the TOC has played an important role in getting TUSD into better and more economical solutions than would have otherwise been the case.
The TOC’s role in procurement has been controversial; it is currently limited to occasional informal advice and the ability to include one or two its members on procurement evaluation panels. The TOC was completely excluded from review of the disastrous 2010 network procurement: on the evening before the TOC’s scheduled review of staff’s recommendation, district leadership told the TOC Chair that no review would be allowed. Mark believes that the TOC’s charter should be strengthened to allow the entire committee to review Requests For Proposals (before publication) and staff’s procurement recommendations to the Board.