The concern, Gutmann said, is that the network is not robust enough to adequately handle the bandwidth-hoarding applications of the schools’ relatively fast computers.
“We don’t have any Lamborghinis yet, but we’ve got some pretty fast cars, let me tell you,” he said, one of many automotive similes he used at last week’s board of education meeting.
Gutmann said that when he became Technology Director, he was tasked with turning the schools’ network into a “superhighway with a bunch of rural roads.”
Those rural roads, he said, are now well rutted.
“The district network is something we cannot overlook,” he said, “but you’re looking at a lot of money.”
Guttmann has, in fact, applied for more than $1.3 million in grants from the Federal Universal Service Administration that he said would fully upgrade the network. The grant, however, requires a 25 percent match — which officials said the school couldn’t afford, meaning they’ll have to prioritize which elements of the network to upgrade.
If the network was upgraded, Gutmann said it would be of sufficient size for eight-to-ten years.
In other recommendations, Gutmann suggested: that the board hire a technology resource teacher to train faculty on new hardware and software; that stipends for school technology coordinators be increased to reflect their workload and responsibility; that teachers should meet certain requirements in terms of the technology skills, as he said state funding might soon be hinged to such performance; and that new construction or reconstruction should include plans for network projects, as they can be done more cheaply in the midst of other projects.
In other action, the board approved the calendar for the 2006-2007 school year. Dates of interest are:
• Aug. 10 — students’ first day
• Oct. 9-13 — Fall Break
• Dec. 21 – Jan. 1 — Winter Break
• April 2-6 — Spring Break
• May 18 — students’ last day
The board also discussed looking into modifying the length of school days for the 2007-2008 school year.
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.