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Remaining technology funds, $164,794, used for purchases

POSTED March 23, 2017 9:48 a.m.

The Darlington Community School Board of Education discussed the remaining funds in the technology budget and approved purchases for several items in both the high school and DEMS.
The Technology Committee met Wednesday, March 15 to go over the remaining funds budgeted for technology along with other needs that the district has that could still be addressed for this year. The current technology budget has $73,797.10 to spend this year on equipment replacement.
The board looked at a list of items to be replaced and prices, including: Lab 15 – decrease of only 12 computers replaced, $8,209; 55 Chromebooks for 1:1 (incoming freshmen), $12,045; 55 Chromebook covers, $1,374.45; Go Guardian (Chromebook software management and web filtering, most likely be purchased next year), $1,680; 25 iPads for PLTW (Project Lead the Way, need five in each classroom for continued support, $10,323.75; 15 Macs for the 5-6 wing, $18,870; 60 Chromebooks with carts, $15,881.35; DEMS PLTW lab, $18,615.50; Staff – 25 high school machines, $17,103; 50 DEMS teachers machines, $34,206; office machines (DEMS, high school and district office), $11,185.52; Library – 4 DEMS teacher workstations, $2,736.48; 4 DHS teacher workstations, $2,736.48; 2 DHS PLTW machines, $1,489.24; 2 DHS iMacs (support the arts and PLTW classes), $2,896; and 8 DHS machines, $5,472.96 for a total of $164,794.73.
Administrator Denise Wellnitz stated that some of the special education computers need to be replaced but that money would come out of the special education budget. The district has roughly an extra $39,000 already budgeted for repairing technology, so the total amount available is about $113,000.
BJ Birkholz from Dependable Solutions stated that many of the items listed were in the budget last year but were cut to get the budget down. He said the most important ones to replace at this time are the DEMS teachers machines as they are the oldest.
Board member Matt Wilson asked, “If we do all this, we would be about $50,000 over this year’s budget? What are the advantages of doing this now?”
Brikholz stated that if the teachers received their machines now, it would be easier for them to become accustomed to them rather than receiving them at the beginning of a new school year, where things can be stressful.
Nick Zuberbuhler asked if the school district has that extra $50,000 budgeted somewhere else. Wellnitz stated that she can identify about $145,000: gas prices are down, audit wasn’t as much, gymnasium floor wasn’t as much, saving on staff position and heating costs were extremely down.
Wilson added that if they don’t use that money now then next year the school wouldn’t receive as much state aid.
Birkholz also added that most of the items are budgeted in next years budget, so it will be reduced if the items are purchased during this year.
Zuberbuhler asked if teachers were given a choice between desktop computers versus laptop and what the price different would be.
“Desktops are about $700, where laptop is going to be closer to $1,000. [These prices] are based on desktops,” Birkholz answered. If all the teachers would take laptops, that would be an additional $22,500.
The board also discussed licensing and warranty for a backup system to backup internal servers in next years budget. Updating the license for the backup has three options: purchasing hardware and updating to a 3 year license/warranty, $11,000; 3 year license/warranty, $7,500; or 1 year license/warranty, $2,500. The current license and warranty expires in August 2017. Birkholz also mentioned the Internet filter license and warranty that needs to be renewed every year. Last year they renewed it for 1 year. The cost for 1 year is $4/user (about $3,100) and 3 year is $9.60/user (about $7,500) and the hardware is $7,000. The board took no action on the backup system or filter.
Wilson made a motion to approve the 2016-2017 school year technologies spending with Zuberbuhler seconding. The motion passed.
The Darlington Community School Board of Eudcation also approved/accepted:
-a donation from the John and Kathy Pierce from Tyler’s TEAM Foundation, Inc., for books. The foundation looks to educate young adults and elementary students in a series of books that deal with conflict resolutions and deal with situations such as suicide or mental illness. Tyler’s TEAM was founded by John and Kathy of Juda, after their son, Tyler, committed suicide in 2011.
-the second reading of the McKinney Vento Homeless Policy.
-field trips for the AP US History and Spanish class.
-the request for Cassandra Bonin to serve as a volunteer girls softball coach.

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