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Tech updates requested for schools
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If approved next month, several Newton County schools could receive technology updates. Thanks, in part, to E-rate funding available this year.

Director of Technology and Media Services Dr. Gary Shattuck presented a proposal to the Newton County Board of Education in their meeting Tuesday, outlining the schools that are eligible for reimbursement, as well as first and second priority schools that have not had technology updates for many years.

First priority schools are East Newton and Mansfield Elementary, Indian Creek Middle and Eastside High, which had no updates in 17 years. Also included on that list is Oak Hill Elementary which has had no updates in 11 years. The request for all of these schools is for equipment, cabling and wireless.

In total, it would cost more than $1.3 million to outfit all first priority schools with the products requested. However, with E-rate funding, it would cost the NCSS only $459,680 - a savings of $843,828 to the NCSS.

Second priority schools are Fairview, Newton County Theme School and Rocky Plains Elementary, Cousins and Veterans Memorial Middle and Alcovy High. Work has already been done at the theme school and Cousins Middle. The total cost for the products requested (wireless for FES, NCTS and CMS and equipment and wireless for RPES, VMMS and AHS) is $473,913 but would cost the NCSS only $101,067 - a savings to the NCSS or $372,846.

To supply both first and second priority schools with the products needed would leave a deficit of $25,289 which would have to be supplemented. The money would not come out of the system's general fund, since capital monies are available for these updates.

If just the second priority schools are updated, it would cost $404,060, but the total cost for the NCSS would be $87,097 - with a savings of $316,963.

Shattuck told the board his preference would be to update schools on both priority lists.

"If we don't re-do them now, I am very concerned there will not be any money given in the future," he told the board, since E-rate reimbursements are available now, but may not be next year.

The board elected to hold off voting on the issue until their July 17 meeting.