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District continues to move forward
Seneca Schools
Seneca School District

SENECA - It was time to modernize some things in the Seneca Area School District at Monday night’s school board meeting.

It started with some old business that was tabled at the last meeting to gather more information. Last year, the school’s sports clubs spent $3,695 having video of games available on the internet through Just-A-Game Live. 

 In addition to some games, the service provide live video of concerts and the school’s graduation.

This year, Seneca decided to make a change and sign a contract for a three-year package with Hudl Video. The package would provide video coverage of all games and a few other events at a cost of $6,000 per year.

Seneca District Administrator Dave Boland told the board that after discussing the matter with IT person Laurie Nelson it was decided if the school went with the Hudl Video package the district would setup their own YouTube channel to make it available.

In addition, to making video of the games available to students, parents and fans, the service also makes statistics on the games available to coaches. 

Boland said the district could provide $3,000 toward the project and look to the athletic clubs to come up with the other $3,000. Board members like Tyler Aspenson saw problems with having the clubs pay and differences over who did and did not pay for the Hudl Video. 

Boland said that he was old school on this technology and said he thought it was fairly expensive. However, he acknowledged it was being widely accepted by schools.

The system uses a mounted camera to track the action of the game. Aspenson made a motion that the school pay the full $6,000 for each of the three years in the package and that the system be universal and used by everyone. Board member Adam Green seconded the motion and the board passed the motion on a 7-0 roll call vote.

In new business, the board took up upgrading the school-wide phone system.

Administrator Dave Boland said the district had assessed what the school’s phone needs were and reviewed what was a available from various providers. The district narrowed the choice down to three systems, but wasn’t really satisfied with any of them. 

So, the district searched further and found two very good providers and settled on the best being Nextiva. River Ridge is installing a Nextiva and Ithaca and Richland Center have been using Nextiva.

One thing the new system will do is clear up communications to the elementary school by installing speakers. The messages had been coming through on phones and were hard to hear in classrooms of kids.

Boland said the communications improvements was needed to facilitate safety, events and just general communications in the elementary school.

Phones themselves will be replaced with VOIP (Voice Over Internet Phones). The phone lines go through he internet,” Boland told the board.

The numbers and extensions in the school district will stay the same.

Boland noted that Ithaca had been using the company for the past 10 to 12 years with equipment that pre-dated what’s available now and had good luck.

Shawn Lenzendorf made a motion to approve a three-year package with Nextiva with prices locked in. The motion was seconded by Charles Clark and passed by the board on a 7-0 roll call vote.

Well, not everything about new technology is a positive. Along with the good comes the bad and that’s commonly referred to a malware. The scammers are getting good at penetrating networks.

Seneca already had a malware experience a few years back when scammers locked up the school’s computers and demanded a ransom. 

It caused lots of problems for the district and resulted din an $8,000 insurance claim

Recently, one of the district’s phones was trying to call out to Russia, Boland told the board. It was an effort to get hackers into the school’s system. Luckily, the school’s firewall prevented the call from happening.

Boland told the board the district had investigated endpoint protection malware detection and was recommending a contract for Sentinel One software CompuNet. 

The cost of the contract is $13,880 in the first year and $11,880 in the second and third year.  The contract includes fixing or ending any problems. The service is in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week providing protection from hackers.

Board member Charles Clark moved to contract for Sentinel One and Mark Johnson seconded the motion. The board approved the motion on a 7-0 roll call vote.

During the school district administrator’s report, Boland told the board the 2021-22 budget of $4.1 million is projected to have a $50,000 deficit at this point. The budget deficit is the result of repair and maintenance costs being higher than the amount budgeted.

In other business, the Seneca School Board:

• approved high school  social studies teacher Brian Kwasny as the new varsity basketball coach following a closed session meeting-Kwasny was the JV coach last season

• set the school walk through meeting for Thursday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m.

• set the annual meeting date Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

• adopted changes to the employee handbook and the student handbook as suggested by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards 

• approved the co-curricular handbook with no changes

• agreed the event passes and registration fees would remain the same including free admission to students for home games 

• approved increasing the air handling bid by $1,200 to cover the three-phase upgrade hat was inadvertently omitted by the contractor-the bid remains the lowest bid for the work

• approved the district insurance policies with the health insurance cost 7.95 percent and dental insurance up four percent-life insurance decreased 5.7 percent

• learned the district received no bread bids, but will continue to purchase bread without a bid

• approved the milk from Prairie Farms, a Swiss Valley brand, up 20 percent from last year, but was the same amount as the bid two years ago

• learned in a state-required annual report that the district had no seclusion or restraint incidents in the previous school year

• passed a state-required statement of academic standards

• heard a brief administrator’s report on the benefits of the school resource officer to the district

• learned the free and reduced lunch numbers are down, perhaps because people didn’t fill out the paperwork during the pandemic because lunches were free for everyone-but the district needs to have people signed up to receive certain other types of aid based on the number of free and reduced lunches

• The Seneca Area School District Monthly Recognition Award went to four employees leaving the district. They are Stace Anderson, retiring school psychologist and special ed director with 13 years of service; Diane Yager, retiring phy ed and middle school social studies teacher with 32 years of service; Louis Prew, retiring bus driver with 14 or more  years of service and seven year of subbing; and Hannah Swenson, a first grade teacher with six years of service, who has taken a job elsewhere.