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District eyes tech upgrades for next year
April 05, 2013 · Jennifer Pandich

The summer will bring updates in technology throughout the Mount Vernon School District.

As several systems have reached their expected life span, they will be replaced. The phone system, but not the phones themselves, is four years old and will be replaced. The internet connection will be brought up to 100MB to help fix low speeds due to the widespread usage of the system. The firewall, which is five years old, will also be replaced. The host will be replaced, in part to create more storage space, since the system has shut down a few times in the past year.

The district's information technology staff members, Shawn Driscoll and Sean Flockhart, also informed the school board as to what improvements had been made over the past year.

"We replaced the Project Lead the Way lab," said Driscoll. Other improvements in the high school's technology included replacing the business and library labs and adding a cart with computers. In the elementary school, work was done in the library to optimize usage abilities.

The wireless system was also replaced for the entire district, providing better and faster internet connections.

Currently, the department has a $178,000 budget: $58,000 will be used to pay for existing leases, $53,000 for software licenses, and $67,000 for updates to the system.

"All of this will provide us with room to grow," said Driscoll.

More updates will be needed soon, according to Driscoll.

"Of the computers in the district, 59 percent are less than one year old, 15 percent are two to three years old, five percent are four to five years old, and 21 percent are six to eight years old. Those make up a fairly significant percentage, and will need to be replaced soon."

Building representatives from the three schools will also be coming to the April 8 school board meeting with technology plans, as requested by the board last year.

When teachers in the middle school last year asked for funds for a one-to-one program, the board denied their request, saying they wanted to see plans from all the schools as to how technology would be used to enhance instruction, as well as a more unified approach in how the buildings approached the issue.

Portables sold

The school board also learned last week that its two portable classrooms, located behind the elementary school, were leaving.

Each portable sold for about $3, but the estimated moving cost for each is $10,000.

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