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School board hears about network issues

Staff writer

For all the good it has done, Hillsboro High School’s laptop program has had a serious drawback, Technology Director Jason Henry told USD 410 Board of Education Monday.

The school’s wireless network isn’t capable of adequately handling the increased wireless traffic.

Students and teachers are having difficulty connecting, and when they do, the network is very slow, he said.

Some teachers are becoming frustrated by the network problems, he said.

Board President Eddie Weber said the school’s laptop program loses a lot of its worth if the network doesn’t operate properly.

“It’s like having a new car without tires,” he said.

Henry said it was impossible to simulate how 200 laptops would affect the network until they actually were in use.

Network infrastructure needs to be replaced to solve the problem. He estimated it could cost $20,000 to $60,000. Funds would likely have to be taken from the district’s capital improvement fund.

Henry is seeking bids from as many vendors as possible.

Airwave lease considered

Kansas Broadband Internet, Inc., wants to lease radio wave frequencies that USD 410 owns the rights to for a wireless broadband network.

The district received the rights in the 1970s, and they can be used for radio or television, as well as high-speed Internet, company representative Lee Miller said.

The district cannot sell the frequencies, but it can lease them. If nothing is done with the frequencies, the district will lose the rights in 2011.

The district has the frequency rights in a 35-mile radius, which includes about 55,000 households, Miller said.

The company wants a 30-year lease, the maximum the Federal Communications Commission allows.

In return, the district would receive a $25,000 one-time payment, as well as 1.5 percent of the company’s gross revenue, and free accounts with the company.

The district is negotiating with Herington, which owns similar rights. Superintendent Steve Noble said working together gives the districts more bargaining power.

Noble wanted another month for negotiations.

In other business:

  • The 2009-10 master contract, which teachers already approved, was approved.
  • Board member Gary Andrews was selected to be board representative on a new district technology committee. The committee will meet three times each year.
  • A plaque was presented to retiring district office secretary Jane Long, honoring her 16 years of service. Friday will be her last day.
  • The board met in closed session to discuss acquisition of property. No action was taken afterward.
  • Rhonda Wiens will work an extra three hours weekly running the preschool route. The board approved the change to her contract.
  • Sheila Nuss will work one less hour per week, because the district is sending students to a building trades class in Marion instead of Newton. The board amended her contract.
  • Jill Hein was approved to serve as the Culture Club and GAP sponsor. The contract was funded by an anonymous donation.

Last modified Oct. 14, 2009

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