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City schools look to boost technology

Dunkirk City School District Technology Coordinator Jeremy Dobek gave a presentation at a public hearing preceding the board’s workshop earlier this month where he broke down how funds would be used from the New York state Smart Schools Bond Act, a $2 billion initiative put forth by state Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2016. Dunkirk was allotted $2,188,365 from the initiative.

Under the Smart Schools Bond Act, districts may submit expenditures in the following categories: school connectivity, classroom technology, pre-kindergarten classrooms and high-tech security features. Dunkirk is primarily going to focus on school connectivity and classroom technology in their technology plan.

Dobek proposed these items in regard to school connectivity, which would cost nearly $120,500:

¯ Replacement of camera servers, replacement of server switch gear, expending of external wireless network at the school buildings, an upgrade to aging camera server infrastructure, estimated at $60,000.

¯ An upgrade to aging switch gear infrastructure, estimated at $28,000.

¯ Expending the wireless network to the external areas around the buildings, estimated at $32,500.

The impact of these improvements will increase the storage capability and reliability of the current and future cameras, while also increasing bandwidth capability and end user connectivity. It will also allow staff to use wireless devices for emergency drills and outdoor activities.

In regards to classroom technology, Dobek also proposed the purchase of 970 Chrome books, 10 chrome book carts and 300 classroom/computer lab computers. The district currently has grades 3-6 and 8 fully using Chrome book technology and 20 pilot classrooms using Chrome book technology.

The purchase will also start a replacement cycle for the current 2,000 chrome books that were purchased with previous grant funds, while the purchase of classroom/computer lab computers will replace eight-year-old computers that do not meet current Microsoft requirements. The total estimated cost in this category is $511,250.

“We have 1,400 units deployed and the district has 20 pilot classes on top of all that,” Dobek noted at the hearing. “We’re looking to buy so many Chrome books to start replacing the Chrome books that were purchased by (past) grants, and continue to grow our inventory.”

The approval process is currently at stage 4 with the public hearing having taken place, and the board set to approve the final plan in the near future. Stage 5 is the submission of the final plan to the Smart Schools Review Board.

“Our tech plan is on the website,” Dobek stated. “Any comments, please email smartschools@dunkirkcsd.org.”

No action was taken on the matter at the workshop that followed.

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