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Proposals set for vote at U-46 board meeting


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 will be voting on three proposals totaling over $500,000 at its upcoming meeting on Monday, Feb. 26. The items were presented on Feb. 5.
  One proposal costing $245,239 with CDW Government, which will come out of the education fund if approved, would provide more WiFi coverage to elementary schools.
  The proposal states: “When originally deployed, one access point (AP) in every other classroom supplied enough coverage to support the learning environment. Since that time the number of devices has greatly increased as well as the need for reliable online testing. Our existing infrastructure can no longer support the high density without increasing to one AP per classroom. This purchase will provide wireless access points for 42 elementary schools.”
  U-46 plans to use the e-rate program which picks up 80 percent of the bill.
  Board member Jeanette Ward asked for an explanation of e-rate funding to which Bruce Phelps, senior business official, said the district pays the total cost up front and “we get a rebate back from the government.”
  Phelps said the 80 percent that will be refunded to the district is paid for by the nation’s taxpayers and U-46 CEO Tony Sanders asked: “Doesn’t it come from the tax portion of like your internet bills, your cell phone bills and so forth?”
  “I’m not sure if it’s 100 percent that, but there is a portion that does come from that,” Phelps said.
  Another proposal is with Dell Marketing ($133,562 for 395 chromebooks) and Heartland Business Systems ($93,160 for 170 HP probook 11 G2), and the proposal would be paid for by the nation’s taxpayers through Title I funding.
  For the chromebooks, Dell came in with the highest among four bids which Laura Macias, information services director, said that Dell provided an “educational edition” chromebook with stronger rubber.
  Sanders said “so it’s better for kids… [and] can take rougher classroom use” which Macias concurred and said: “The total cost of ownership for the new type of equipment is well worth it, especially for the quality and functionality that we’re also getting.”
  The items will go to 15 different schools with different amounts to each. Board member Sue Kerr asked about how it was determined how many chromebooks and HP probooks would go to each of the 15 schools and Macias said “we provided a list of different type of equipment to select from” and the schools selected the items.
  Ward asked why the need for chromebooks over standard laptops to which Macias responded the district would need to go to a different software with laptops which would require additional training for staff.
  The final proposal is with Tyler Technologies, Inc. costing $79,195, to come from the education fund, for an annual license renewal for MUNIS software. That software has been used by the district since 2013 according to the proposal.

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