By TRAVIS MORSE firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — The District 80 Board of Education Wednesday approved a $169,077 project to upgrade computer equipment and software for the district.
Superintendent Mike Green said school officials are considering using $250,000 in available federal “E-Rate” funding to pay for the technology upgrade. E-Rate is a federal program that provides reimbursements for schools purchasing Internet and phone services.
The planned improvements would be made as part of the district’s new contract with Quality Network Solutions. This contract was approved at Wednesday night’s school board meeting.
“It would be to update our computer equipment, purchase software licenses and increase our firewall protection,” Green said.
Green explained the district is currently using Windows XP, an operating system no longer supported by Microsoft.
If the district were to keep using its current system, it may experience problems with computer viruses, security threats and other “frustrations,” Green said.
Also on Wednesday, the board approved several fund transfers in the district budget to cover cost over-runs from the recent Casey Middle School expansion.
District officials initially estimated the cost of the Casey project at $6 million, but the final cost
turned out to be slightly more than $6.7 million, Green said.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the board approved resolutions to transfer money out of three different funds in the district budget.
This money, totaling about $701,000, was then shifted to the Capital Projects Fund, a line item created to pay for the Casey expansion.
“We had to go and pay off the remainder of it,” Green said.
In addition Wednesday, the board approved implementing a new math curriculum for kindergarten through third graders that will go into effect next school year.
The curriculum, known as “Go Math,” will strongly align with new Common Core standards, officials said.
“Go Math is going to cover all the concepts they need to know,” said Assistant Superintendent Aletta Lawrence.
Fourth through eighth grade students next year will continue to use the district’s current math curriculum called Saxon.
Other District 80 Board actions Wednesday included:
n Approval of several budget amendments and the setting of a special budget meeting for 7:30 a.m. June 17.
n Discussion of the formation of a Casey Expansion Committee and a K-3 Social Studies Committee.
n Hearing of reports on the Head Start and Summer School programs.
n Approval of several district employees who will be recognized through the Those Who Excel in Education program.
n Approval of the Summer Food Program, food service contracts, and bread and milk bids.