Janesville School District's budget to address aging technology
JANESVILLE The Janesville School District's budget for computers and related technology would stay the same as last year based on a proposal presented to a school board committee Monday night.
What would change is how the $1.75 million technology budget is used in the year ahead, said Robert Smiley, the district's new chief information officer.
For example, the $85,000 used to install wireless access points last year would be used to replace aging equipment, Smiley said after the meeting.
The district has computer servers that are 7 to 8 years old and computer workstations that are more than 5 years old, Smiley told committee members.
The district has about 5,000 computer workstations, and about 1,000 need to be replaced, Smiley said.
The budget would include no money for expanding technology or ensuring that each school has a similar level of technology, Smiley said.
If principals want to buy tablet computing devices, SMART Boards and the like, they have four options: grants, federal funding, fundraisers or dipping into each school's allocation, which is used for a variety of needs, Smiley said.
The district also could consider allowing staff or even students to use their personal devices at school, Smiley said.
Committee members Greg Ardrey, Karl Dommershausen and Deborah Schilling seemed favorably disposed to the proposal.
Dommershausen asked if the replacements were dire needs or whether the equipment could last another year. Smiley said problems would crop up if the equipment is not replaced.
"Can we go another year? Yes, but that's not the way we want to run our organization," Smiley said.
Dommershausen asked about how well the district computer systems would fare in a power outage. Smiley hinted it would not be ideal.
"We are not yet there in terms of disaster recovery," Smiley said.
After the meeting, Smiley said the uninterruptible power supplies for the servers are aging. He likened them to a weak car battery that might not perform well in an emergency.
Smiley said he also wanted to spend money on training for his staff and on establishing a detailed inventory and long-range technology plan.
A handout describing Smiley's proposal was passed out to members of the finance/buildings and grounds committee. However, Chief Financial Officer Keith Pennington collected all copies and declined to give a reporter a copy after the meeting, saying it was a draft, and that he wanted to make sure accurate information was given out.