BOE holds ESPLOST Priorities Meeting

Tue, 03/31/2009 - 5:58pm
By: sniffles5

ESPLOST Committee Meeting
March 30,2009

Committee members met at the Fayette County Board of Education's Central Office at 7:00 p.m. Dr. John DeCotis, Superintendent, welcomed the new committee members from the construction committee to the meeting, and
thanked them for coming. All members and employees introduced themselves.

Dr. DeCotis stated that the presentations would be more detailed than the previous meeting, delving into the specific areas in which SPLOST money would be most effectively used. He stated that technology for teachers and students is the main focus of SPLOST.

Mr. Campbell, Director of Safety, presented a Powerpoint on emergency operations and the RSVP (Room Status Visualizations Program) that we are implementing in all elementary schools in the Spring 2009. The RSVP program is already implemented in the high schools. He stated that a safe school
environment is essential and that we are dedicated to making this a priority.

This cost is not covered by SPLOST money because only hardware is covered by
SPLOST dollars.

Mr. Campbell continued his presentation with a discussion about security at the elementary schools. He reminded the committee that since Columbine everything has changed and we have to do "safety planning for the worse case scenario." He discussed implementing "Electronic Access Control" in all schools, over the course of several years. He stated that this is our first priority because it is not very expensive and therefore is an efficient use of SPLOST money. The cost for the elementary schools would be $528,500.

Furthermore, the principals and teachers want the electronic access control. A North Fayette parent, present at the meeting, concurred that the system was great and that it gave him peace of mind for his child's school. Mr. Campbell stated that we
want to stay on the cutting edge with security in order to protect our students
and faculty. Currently, Hood Elementary, Fayette Intermediate and North Fayette Elementary have partial access control. The access control controls who is going in and out of the building and time stamps each use of the fob. In addition each key fob has a serial number that can be traced to the user. To further secure access to the schools, the key fobs would only work during
certain hours. In other words, they would not allow faculty access at night or
on the weekends. The goal is to implement full access control at all elementary
schools in the 2010-2011 school year. Implementation at the middle and high
schools is more challenging due to students needing access to various doors (gyms, parking lots,. etc.) throughout the school day, and has not yet been addressed.

Mr. Campbell and Mr. Cearley then discussed an Emergency Notification System and explained how this is software that is added to the new student information system we are installing. They explained that it is a web-based parents' outreach system in which parents can be contacted via email, text or phone in case of an emergency, school closings, etc. The plan is to implement this in 09-10. However, due to the fact that this is software, SPLOST money
cannot be used for it.

Curt Cearley, Director of Technology, presented a PowerPoint about the technology in the schools and how the SPLOST money could be used to improve our technology. He stated that our new student information system will be "Infinite Campus" and that it is a lease program in which the vendor manages the database and we provide the connectivity. The new system has a gradebook program, a parent program and the emergency notification system that we just discussed.

In regards to classroom technology, our goal is the have every classroom be a
21st century learning environment. In order to be considered a 21st Century classroom, the classroom must have a projector, interactivity, student response
ability, voice amplification and a willing teacher.

We have approximately 2200 classrooms in our school system. Some classrooms are already 21st century. These include most classrooms at Whitewater High School, Inman Elementary School, and Bennett's Mill Middle School. Approximately 1000 classrooms in the county do not have 21st century technology. Mr. Sam Sweat, Assistant
Superintendent of Operations, stated that the SACS review committee recommended that we update our technology in our review a couple of months ago. Mr. Cearley continued his discussion stating that the plan is to start implementing the new technology in the elementary classrooms, then middle
school and high school classrooms. The cost of this would be approximately $38 million over five years, to be paid for with SPLOST money.

Mr. Cearley then discussed the refresh schedule for the county's leased computers. He explained that we are changing to a June refresh schedule because December is difficult. Computers will be refreshed in June of 2011,2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Other technology plans are to continue domain consolidation in the summer of 2009, virtualization in FY 2011, student information system in FY 2010, Finance and Human Resources systems in FY 2010/2011, Email Archival System in 2011 and modernize technology services department in FY 2011.

Mr. Cearley explained the need for larger bandwidth and that this would be addressed in FY 2012-2015. The cost of this, according to Mr. Cearley would be approximately $25-30 million. Mr. Cearley is looking into possible cooperation with other county entities in regards to sharing bandwidth.

Dr. DeCotis asked Mr. Cearley to put his PowerPoint on E-Board so that the committee could review it and provide feedback and ask any additional questions that they may have.

One of the committee members asked how many school districts have 21st Century technology. Mr. Cearley and Robin Miller both addressed this question. They named Forsyth County, Pike County, Gwinnett County and Lamar County and told the committee to refer to the Georgia Department of Education website for a complete list.

Dr. DeCotis thanked everyone for their presentations and thanked the committee members for attending the meeting.

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sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Tue, 03/31/2009 - 6:26pm.

The BOE continues its policy of pursuing the path of least resistance with regard to funding ESPLOST initiatives.

They'll spend lots of time and energy on stuff that looks good and "sexy", like "student responders" (the "must have" gadget of 2009, according to education magazines...I had to look them up).

But they won't get around to addressing the difficult stuff.... bandwidth...until 2012 at the earliest. NOTHING has been done to alleviate bandwidth since 2006.

Folks, bandwidth increases allows for more things to be automated, and automation allows for lower headcount in administrative areas,in other words, "working smarter, not harder".

Also interesting is the fact that the BOE plans to continue infrastructure/bandwidth upgrades in year AFTER the SPLOST is set to expire.

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