By Sam Elliott
Zionsville Community High School should have a new, upgraded wireless Internet network in place by the beginning of next school year — one that can keep up with the growing number of mobile devices being used by staff and students.
Dan Layton, Zionsville Community Schools’ chief technology officer, presented a plan for the upgraded system to the ZCS Board of School Trustees at its Nov. 9 meeting. He said that the aging wireless infrastructure “does not really cut it anymore,” as students often bring multiple wireless devices to school.
“It’s now having a mixture of a lot of different things, including phones and all of the smart wearable technology everybody has. Students on average are bringing three devices into the classroom,” Layton said. “You times that by an average of about 30 students or so in a classroom and now you’ve got 60 to 90 devices on a system that can really only handle about 30 at a time.”
The board unanimously approved seeking out bids for installing the new wireless system in the summer. Layton hopes to be back before the board in January with a recommendation after collecting bids for the project, which he estimated could cost between $300,000 and $400,000 depending on the system selected.
ZCS will be able to take advantage of a change at the federal level for school technology funding, however, and will be able to have 40 percent of the project’s cost paid for through such funding.
In other new business, the board:
• Unanimously approved of the disposal of surplus technology equipment.
“We’ve been doing quite a bit of inventory throughout the district. We had quite a bit of stuff in storage,” Layton said. “Some of them are quite old, some of them just have no use anymore or we’ve taken parts from one to make another work as parts break down. The range is anywhere from three to 10 years [old]. We found some of the old printers that I’ve never seen before, so I don’t know how old those are. There’s a mix of a lot of things in there.”
• Unanimously approved to advertise for an additional appropriation to the rainy day fund.
“The school corporation has sustained significant expenses from the rainy day fund within the last few months, such that we need an authorization to use the rainy day fund to pay for these expenses. The rainy day fund, as we normally do in most years, actually had a budget appropriation of zero for 2015,” Mike Shafer, ZCS chief financial officer said. “To access the funds that are held in the rainy day fund, legally we need permission from the Department of Local Government Finance to have our appropriation that we want to use approved. There is a fairly lengthy legal process that’s required to do that… The advertisement will advertise for a public hearing at the next school board meeting with action to follow in the same meeting after the hearing is concluded.”
The next ZCS Board of School Trustees meeting is at 6 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Educational Services Center.