By Jill Moon
During a discussion of bills at the February Okawville school board meeting Superintendent Scott Fuhrhop told the board the district was coming to the end of its current 5-year contract with Charter Communications that provides internet and phone service.
He said the school desperately needs more bandwidth for quicker downloads.
Fuhrhop stated that he has negotiated a deal to more than double available bandwidth and internet service would decrease to $355.00 a month. Telephone services, including the two dedicated emergency lines, will decrease to $360.00 a month. Fuhrhop said that over the next five year contract the district will save between $13,000 and $15,000.
After receiving a bill from the current burglary and fire monitoring company for $592.00 for labor during a service call Fuhrhop reported that he is searching for another provider that will include labor in a flat monthly fee of $300.00.
He hopes to have more to report on this matter at the March meeting.
The district spent $2,698.00 for two four-foot-by-eight-foot state boys baseball photos that hang in the lobby. The board passed a resolution to abate a part of levied taxes for 2016.
The board heard the first reading of the 2017-2018 school year calendar.
The first day of school for teachers is projected to be August 15 with students following on August 16.
In September there is a holiday on the Sept. 4, and also on Sept. 18, the day after Wheat Festival, because the district has high attendance.
In October there is a holiday on Oct. 9, and parent-teacher conferences on Oct. 20.
In November, Nov. 10 will be a holiday(Veteran’s Day) and then Thanksgiving break on Nov. 23 and 24.
The last day of school before Christmas break is scheduled to be Dec. 22.
Teachers will return on Jan. 3, with students following on the Jan. 4.
In February there is a teacher institute on the Feb. 16, and President’s Day is on Feb. 19.
In March Casmir Pulaski Day is on March 5, which will be a holiday. There is a half day on the March 29. then the March 30 is Good Friday and school will be closed for Easter until April 3.
In May the last day of school for students is scheduled to be May 17, unless there are snow days that need to be made up, then the last day should be the March 22.
Fuhrhop commented the schedule “Is much like last year’s with tweaks where needed.”
The board also discussed purchasing new computers for the students.
Fuhrhrop said, “One of the things I’ve tried to do since I’ve been here is not have a computer over 5 years old and keep things up-to-date.”
He told the board that in addition to buying 84 new computers for the two computer labs the school’s servers and firewalls needed to be replaced for a total cost of $550,000.
Fuhrhop told the board that the their Rural Education Technology Fund would pay for this plan.
Board member Kurt Heckert asked if the old computers could be donated locally. Fuhrhop answered that they were already included in the trade and would be refurbished but not tossed.
The motion for Fuhrhop to advertise for bids for grass cutting for 2017 was passed. Usually a student is hired to do part of it.
Because of daylight savings time coming up, a motion was passed to change March’s school board meeting time to 8:00pm.