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North Allegheny to Implement Telephone Notification System
May 1, 2009
When the fall term starts, the North Allegheny school district for the first time will use a telephone notification system to tell parents of school delays, closings and other emergencies.
Last night, the school board entered into a two-year agreement with Reliance Communications Inc. to provide the service to about 5,500 North Allegheny families, said Joy Ed, district spokeswoman.
The district will pay $6,000 a year for the service that will allow administrators to record an unlimited number of messages that will be sent out en mass to the home and cell phones numbers families provide as emergency contacts.
The average family provides three phone numbers to the district, Ms. Ed said, adding it will be particularly important for families to provide updated contact information. Parents can choose to not receive the notifications, she said.
Administrators spent a year looking at a variety of different systems, she added. Roger Botti, director of transportation, assets and technology, likened the system to a "blast" of information going out almost simultaneously. "We're very excited," he said.
The system will allow administrators to send messages out only to select groups, such as parents of one elementary school. Ms. Ed said the district will use the system only for emergencies. All other announcements will be sent home with students in the form of a letter or be available on North Allegheny's Web site.