USD 383 approves upgrade to internet, network services | News

Manhattan-Ogden schools will get a boost in internet services and network access.

With sparse discussion, the USD 383 school board on Wednesday approved switching to WTC of Wamego to provide internet services at a speed of 10 gigabytes for a monthly charge of $4,325. The district’s current provider is KanNet, through Unite Private Networks, a company based in Kansas City, Missouri, which is has used for the past six years. For the same speed, USD 383 pays $6,495 with its current provider. The length of the contract is one year.

The board also approved a Wide Area Network contract as part of district improvements to information technology. This update brings network costs to $14,490 per month, before the e-Rate reimbursement. The Wide Area Network (WAN) service would be provided by the same internet provider, Unite Private Networks (UPN), and maintain the 10-gigabyte speed. The current cost to the district for WAN services is $21,950.

In more efforts to save money, the board also approved a resolution to refinance bonds under a lower interest rate. Director of Business Services Lew Faust said this refinancing helped the district potentially save $8 million over the life of the bonds. Faust said the district has saved more than $16 million since 2011 just from choosing a lower interest rate.

In other business, the board approved the first reading of the 2021-22 academic calendar. Assistant superintendent Eric Reid said the district had a good calendar last March “which got absolutely shredded” by the COVID-19 pandemic. Reid said his team decided to move the start of school back a week and extend a week longer in May to balance out semesters better. The 2021-22 school year will begin Aug. 18 and end May 18.

Oliver Brown staffing

Reid said a survey has been sent to elementary school teachers locally who may be interested in going to Oliver Brown Elementary. The approval of redrawn attendance boundaries will help district officials determine how many students of a specific grade level they will have in the building, which will help them find a “home base” for all current elementary school teachers.

“It’s not the easiest thing to do, but our staff has been very good about it so far,” Reid said.

The district will give tours of Oliver Brown to board members and Pottawatomie County officials in the coming weeks to discuss outlining school zones, setting speed limits, and prepare spaces for parking lots.

Other business

At the beginning of the meeting, the board approved a proclamation recognizing International Women’s Day on March 8. The board had a guest for the proclamation — board member Katrina Lewison’s nine-year-old daughter, Ida. Lewison said Ida “wanted to know what Mom did on Wednesday nights,” and decided to sit at the table with board members.

The board also approved the consent agenda, which includes a $12,600 grant from Riley County Raising Riley to College Hill Early Learning Center for reduced fees for families, and a donation of drum carriers and flat free casters to Manhattan High School, from MHS Friends of the Performing Arts, in the amount of $1,570.65.

Additionally, the board approved these purchases:

  • Data cabling additions at Manhattan High School from McCown Gordon Construction for $207,706; and a guaranteed maximum price increase to $27.4 million,
  • A guaranteed maximum price package with BHS Construction of $6.67 million for renovations and additions to Eugene Field Early Learning Center,
  • Amended guaranteed maximum price for a change order for Bergman Elementary construction with BHS Construction for $118,160,
  • Network wiring for Bergman Elementary from Pugh Communications for $49,990,
  • Desktop computers for Oliver Brown Elementary from Cybertron Computers of Wichita for $29,670,
  • District warehouse racking system from ULINE for $36,666,
  • Installation of new projectors from Cytek Media Systems in Topeka through the state of Kansas contract for $247,330