PETOSKEY — Petoskey school board members decided Thursday to enlist a contractor and vendor for $1.2 million worth of electronic network and equipment upgrades at local schools.
These upgrades represent the first project to be funded through a $4.9 million bond sale which local voters approved in May for financing of district technology needs.
Steve Neal, the district’s technology director, said the project will upgrade the performance of the schools’ electronic network and add capabilities for wireless connections. It will also bring new equipment such as electronic projectors and display screens to classrooms.
“We hope to be done on this part of the project by the end of the calendar year, by the end of December,” Neal said, noting that the timetable will require some installation work on nights and weekends.
The network upgrades will help the district prepare for additional technology updates it’s planning for the future, Neal said, such as telephone system updates and video surveillance equipment.
But prior to those, administrators plan to focus on acquiring new computer workstations for local schools, with Neal anticipating that district officials will consider the computer purchases in the near future.
Also on Thursday, the school board approved one-year employment contract extensions for nine of the district’s administrators, carrying them through June 2014. These administrators include chief financial officer Kent Cartwright, technology director Neal, teaching and learning director Lynn Slanec, Lincoln Elementary School principal Julie Bergmann, Central Elementary School principal Cal Prins, Petoskey Middle School principal Dan Taylor, Petoskey Middle School assistant principal Mike Frampus, Petoskey High School principal Jim Kanine and Petoskey High School assistant principal Jonathon Wilcox. The contract extensions do not include pay increases.
Earlier this year, the board extended school superintendent John Scholten’s contract by one year to 2015, with his pay remaining frozen as well.
Three other administrators — athletic director Gary Hice, Ottawa Elementary School principal Ruth Goldsmith and Sheridan Elementary School principal Joel Donaldson — retired from direct employment by the district in recent years, but continue to perform their duties by way of contracts through an outside employment agency. The district pursued these arrangements as a way to save on benefit expenses.
On Thursday, the Petoskey school board:
— approved a contract through which Johnson’s Buses of Petoskey will again provide bus transportation for the district in the 2012-13 school year. The $1.13 million contract price reflects a 2.43 percent increase over last year’s, with fuel costs a key factor in the higher price.
— set Monday, Sept. 10, as the district’s annual “Family Night.” This observance is meant to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and encourage families to spend time together. No evening practices, activities or meetings are scheduled on Family Night, and no student homework is due the next day.
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