MAPS enters into a lease agreement for network infrastructure

Members of the Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education agreed to a $70,000 five-year lease with CISCO Network for infrastructure that will increase the network capability.

Members of the Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education agreed to a $70,000 five-year lease with CISCO Network for infrastructure that will increase the network capability.

MANISTEE — The Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education agreed this week to a $70,000 five-year lease with CISCO Network for infrastructure.

MAPS technology director Ken Blakey-Shell told the board this will be an important part of the technology network following the recent  three-year lease the district signed with Apple Computers for laptop computers and iPads.

 “It will update our core campus structure and we have identified bottlenecks that are taking place (in their system),” he said. “Most of the equipment we are replacing with this was originally installed back when the high school was built. This is also going to open us up to being able to do additional renovation to the system down the line.”

He said specific updates could include safety items. The district had the police come in recently and look at public safety issues. One of the recommendations that was made was the installation of emergency speaker systems in hallways and gymnasiums.

“Right now all our emergency message go through the phone system, so we don’t have coverage in all areas,” he said. “It kind of puts us in a good position to economically do those things in the future than we are right now.”

Blakey-Shell said there is a $1 buyout at the end the five-year lease.

MAPS business manager Howard Vaas said it is the opportunity to get $70,000 of some much needed infrastructure right now and spread the cost out over five years.

“If we were didn’t do this our cost just to fix what is broken for next year was in excess of next year’s lease payment,” said Vaas. “The amount also went through the budgeting process.”

Board president Dr. Paul Antal said the purchase was important to support the technology the school has in place.

“This is the backbone of what we have in place and everything else is built on, and if we have something wrong with the backbone then it doesn’t work,” he said. “We have heard from other school districts that they can’t get connections in certain rooms or parts of the school.”

Board members also addressed items in other areas such as the Farm to School bids that were received for the 2014-15 school year. MAPS Food Service Director Kathy Gutowski said they received bids from three farms.

“We purchased items from all three,” she said.

She told the board of education the district received bids from Bare Root Farm, Cherry Capital Foods and Miller Produce.  Bare Root Farm and Miller’s Produce are both from Manistee County and Cherry Capital Foods is from the Traverse City area. She said some of the items are quick froze and they are able to utilize them throughout the school year.

Board members also took action to approve Gabridge & Company to do the 2014-15 audit. The firm has done the audit for MAPS for several years.

“For many years we have used the services of David Wilson CPA and he merged with Gabridge & Company,” said Vaas. “Dave was still on site, but he is fully retired now and we’re kind of using the same firm right now. This would allow us to get that audit scheduled and tentatively scheduled to start the field work on Aug. 28.”

Vaas said they do bid out that work periodically, but haven’t done so lately.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.