The Mineral Point School Board held a special meeting Monday evening to address a few pertinent agenda items. (Continue scrolling past the video for more article text)
At the regular August meeting, the Board approved a purchasing policy that states purchases over $5,000, with a few exceptions, must be pre-approved by the Board.
Elementary Instructional Technology and Information Specialist, Kari Kabat, was on hand to answer questions about her proposed purchase, power charging towers for laptops in the amount of $9,228.00.
These charging towers allow for the simultaneous charging of up to 12 devices per tower. Classrooms don’t have many power outlets so this is an efficient way to charge. In addition, the towers are locked which helps prevent theft and damage.
Superintendent Luke Francois clarified for the Board that Kabat’s request was part of an approved preliminary budget and is not above and beyond what has been budgeted.
Voting in favor of the approval were Andy Busch, Lisa Hay, Julie Stephenson, and Larry Steffes. Glenn Kinch voted no and Larry Dolphin abstained. Jeff Basting was absent. (This discussion began the meeting on the video).
The Board also had a resignation to approve. Middle/high music teacher, Kevin Cooley, is leaving for a position in Madison.
Francois stated he would be looking for approval of Cooley’s resignation and then move towards a posting of a 6-12th grade choir and general music position. At this time, Matt Nevers would then be scheduled for 5-12th grade band. Francois added this is a reaction to the news of the resignation as of Noon Monday, so there may be other scheduling configuration options based on the certifications of the applicants, but he also expressed concern the applicant pool might not be too deep this late before school is scheduled to start.
Several on the Board and in attendance expressed their disappointment that Cooley was leaving the district as they found him to be a true asset. The resignation was approved unanimously. (Go to the 34 minute, 15 second mark of the video for this discussion)
The Board also discussed a second phase to bring low cost and high bandwidth capacity to the district by connecting the middle/high school to the elementary school through the district owned fiber.
A project was previously approved and is nearing completion to pull fiber from Highway 151 to the middle/high school building.
The proposal before the Board would deliver a comprehensive study and/or request for proposal for point to point fiber connections between the middle/high and elementary schools.
This would allow the district to not need Charter or Frontier as a carrier, with an ultimate cost savings to the district long term. However, this second phase of the project would be more technical than the first as the fiber would need to run through the city. Francois added there are federal funds in the form of erate reimbursement where the district would get approximately 60% back on the total project. This number is based on the district’s free/reduced student meal population.
Francois added at some point, this project will pay for itself because the internet is not going away and the district’s demand for connectivity is increasing with more devices being used and more video, which takes more bandwidth.
Board members questioned who would maintain the fiber and Francois stated he didn’t have an immediate answer and would investigate and find out more information to bring back at the September meeting, scheduled for Monday, September 12. (Go to the 8 minute, 45 second mark of the video for this discussion)