Geneva District 304 OKs nearly $1.5M tech plan update: Plan to provide updates, improvements over six years

The Geneva District 304 School Board approved on Monday a proposed technology capital spending plan for nearly $1.5 million from 2024 through the 2029 school year.

The proposed portion for the education fund was $970,000 and the portion proposed for operations and maintenance was $525,000, Technology Director Michael Wilkes said.

Potential cost offsets can come from using E-Rate — a federally-funded universal service program that makes telecommunications services more affordable for schools and libraries by reimbursing the cost, Wilkes said.

The caution at this point is that Category Two funding is currently only available through the 2025-26 school year, Wilkes said.

Category Two funding covers internal connections, managed internal broadband services and basic maintenance of internal connections

“I have not heard yet if they have extended Category Two reimbursements for projects beyond that school year,” Wilkes said. “We will currently be E-Rate eligible for that Category Two.”

The district would seek E-Rate for the structured cabling installation, wireless support and license renewal and equipment for uninterruptible power supply devices — known as UPS — which allows a computer to keep running for a while when power is interrupted

Other cost offsets would come from grants and student fees, he said.

The six years of the proposed technology plan would accomplish:

• 2024: Structured cabling (one of three); firewall updates; and renewal of wireless license.

• 2025: Replacement of one of two UPS devices; wireless switch infrastructure; structured cabling — for the second of three for grades six to 12; and wireless license renewal.

• 2026: Wireless access points for grades six to 12; the third of three structured cabling; firewall replacement; and replacement of the second of two uninterruptible power supply devices.

• 2027: Wireless switch infrastructure and wireless access points for kindergarten through fifth grade; and phone system support.

• 2028: Network switches for one of two.

• 2029: Network switches for the second of two.

Wilkes said planning improvements out for several years helps with budgeting to be as flat as possible.

“But also to be sure we are buying technology from around the same era — so we have like for like equipment and do not have a mismatch,” Wilkes said.

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