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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Schools Cabling Infrastructure Need Upgrading

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Schools Cabling Infrastructure Need Upgrading: Elmore County Schools superintendent Richard Dennis discussed improving the school system’s technology during a special-called board meeting.

Dennis said funding for the improvements js expected to come from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.

Alabama received $1.8 billion in CARES funds from the federal government, $300 million which was marked for expenses related to technology and infrastructure for remote instruction and distance learning.

Dennis said the school system turned in its budget request to the state ahead of next week’s deadline.

“If we get everything on our list, all of our technology would be less than three years old,” he said. “That is for students and personnel, too.”

He said current technology infrastructure in many schools in Elmore County is not equipped to handle the amount technology he expects will be integrated in the near future.

“We have to go back to schools and update the infrastructure,” he said. “Rewiring of Cat 5 (ethernet cable) at all high schools is what I would put first. We really need to be prepared for technology at a high level of connectivity.”

The school system recently purchased enough Chromebooks so every student in the county has access to his or her own computer.

Dennis said the school system’s technology department and principals will also provide guidance on technology improvements.

He informed the board central office staff will ask for guidance from the state as to how the school system needs to account for spending these funds.

“Before we spend those funds, and we’ve been doing this before, we will send a request to the Alabama Department of Examiners for guidance,” Dennis said. “They will forward us to a contact for the answers.”

Dennis continued the funding discussion with concerns about April 2020 sales tax collections.

“The big thing for us is to see where we are at the end of next week when the April sales tax report is delivered,” he said. “I think that will be the biggest hit we take this year.”

Dennis also informed the board the regularly scheduled Monday nutrition program that distributes food to school-aged children was rescheduled for 9 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

“We were getting weather reports from the Elmore County Emergency Management Agency that rain was expected from Monday through Wednesday of this week,” Dennis said.

In other action, the board:

• Discussed posting a job opening on Monday for director of Elmore County Technical Center

• Discussed possible updates to the student attendance policy

• Unanimously approved the change in personnel status for several school employees

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