Committee considers technology purchases
The Pennridge School Board Finance Committee considered several technology purchases at its meeting Tuesday, Oct. 16.
The board recommended a computer replacement project for North Middle School at $206,811 and a laptop replacement project at Central and South middle schools for $43,042. The board recommended a Windows platform over an Apple platform for both schools because it would save money.
In addition, the board recom- mended JLR Consulting for ongoing technical support for $130 per hour for advanced technical support and $55 per hour for associate network support.
Supervisor of Technology Services for the Bucks County Intermediate Unit Kasey Kollar also discussed a Microsoft licensing package that would include licences for Windows, Office and a server platform, which comes with an automated help desk. The package costs around $62,000. In addition, deployment and professional consultations from the Bucks County Intermediate Unit cost $2,400 each.
Another technology issue facing the district is a basic Web filtering system for teachers and students. Right now, teachers have no access to sites like YouTube because the school cannot only give access to teachers and not students, according to Javier Rodriguez, the founder of JLR Consulting. Also, according to Rodriguez, 100 percent of downloads are blocked, which can be an issue for teachers who need to download material for their classes. A filter costs around $35,000 to $40,000, with some annual maintenance costs.
The committee also recommended a plan for a districtwide inventory and inventory refresh by Assetworks that will cost $45,000 to $60,000 as a one-time fee, with $2,500 as an annual fee.
During the public forum, the board was asked about the district’s plan to deal with the tax collectors’ back wages.
School board President David Thompson said the board was in a transition process to its own counsel and that the matter was subject to further discussion.
Johnson said the district had the
money if the board decides to pay the back wages.
Resident Jeff Rumbold asked the board to pay the back wages during the public forum.
“Let’s move on from it,” Rumbold said.
In other business, the committee recommended not pushing for an accelerated budget schedule, which would require the committee to submit a preliminary budget by January. Instead, the committee suggested continuing with a traditional budget schedule, which would be presented later in the school year and would need to be accepted by June 30.
Additionally, all of the board members present approved of the contracts that needed to be reviewed, with one exception.
Frank Peiffer took issue with a Pennridge High School student assembly by Gerety Presentations, which would be paid through a general purpose account overseen by the student council. Peiffer called the price, which is $3,500, “exorbitant” for a student assembly.
“For $3,500 you’d think he’d levitate and disappear,” said Peiffer, who drew a laugh from those present.
The technology purchases, contracts and budget decisions will be brought to the attention of the full Pennridge School Board at its meeting Monday, Oct. 22.