KND board looks to receive technology upgrades

BRETHREN — Saving money is something that is on the mind of all school administrators and board members when the opportunity presents itself.KND Schools

The Manistee Intermediate School District recently presented local districts with a new E-Rate program proposal that could result in a savings on telecommunications and internet access. At their regular monthly meeting this week, the Kaleva Norman Dickson Board of Education voted to approve becoming part of the group requesting it.

“Basically what we are doing is upgrading our internet and  infrastructure,” said KND superintendent Marlen Cordes.

E-Rate is commonly used to refer to the Universal Service Fund which is a federal program administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission.

Board members heard that the program has two main categories. One for data transmission services, internet access and voice services. The second category is for internal connections, managed internal broadband services and basic maintenance of internal connections.

The ISD previously applied for the Category Two funding for a county-wide wireless system and district level wireless equipment and cabling.

Technology director Roy Anciso reported to the board in a written report what they hope to  use the funding for this time if they are awarded it.

“For 2017-18 we applied for all new network switching equipment and batteries to upgrade the existing network infrastructure components that support the district’s one-to-one environment and much more,” said Anciso. “The new switching equipment provides additional network ports for computers, wireless access points, video surveillance, phones and audio/PA.”

Anciso reported that things to consider are E-Rate provides large discounts based on the National School Lunch Program. He added that E-Rate funding structure could change at any time and it’s possible the funding could go away  completely.

Board members voted unanimously to approve the proposal toe seek the funding.

The school calendar was also reviewed by the superintendent. There were a few changes in it.

“There were a couple of changes where we had no school and just conferences; the union opted to have school for part of the day and then conferences or a records day,” said Cordes. “By making that change it should get us out of the school a little earlier this year.”

Some minor changes were also made to the district handbooks before they were approved for the upcoming school year by the board.

“It was nothing major and everything was just designed so it would match up to the NEOLA handbook,” said Cordes.

Board members also approved the new NEOLA policy for Seclusion and Restraint. This 20-page policy that all school districts have to approve before the start of the 2017-18 school year outlines what school officials can and can’t do in handling an unruly student.

Items that came up for discussion were the future of soccer at KND. The program is a co-op sport with Bear Lake, but this year the team has nine seniors on it.

Cordes told the board there isn’t a lot of interest at the lower grade levels right now and asked the board if he can speak to Mesick about bringing a third school into the co-op. The board agreed to let him begin those initial discussions.

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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.

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