WORTHINGTON - District 518 school board members listened to an internet upgrade proposal within the district during their regular board meeting Tuesday night.

 

Amy Ernst, District 518 technology coordinator, presented a proposal to the board on upgrading the internet bandwidth, which allows a certain amount of data to be sent and received within the district's wireless ring. District 518 belongs to the same wireless ring as Luverne, Windom and Marshall schools, meaning that they exchange information constantly.

 

Ernst explained that as the district increases the use of electronic devices and programs, there is a need to expand internet bandwidth since more information is being exchanged.

 

“With more devices we added to the network, it’s going to demand more bandwidth,” Ernst said. “Also, the type of traffic that we see now is higher intensity with a lot of pictures and a lot of videos, which requires more bandwidth as well. More of our management system is online and more programs are online, so that all cost more bandwidth demand.”

 

Currently, the district has 280 megabytes per minute of bandwidth that goes to Windom and 100 megabytes per minute that goes to Luverne. The proposed update asks for an increase of 220 megabytes per minute of bandwidth to Windom.

 

“So that will increase our traffic out and that is going to support our learning devices,” Ernst said. “We have to have an adequate bandwidth in order for our learning devices to work properly in the classroom.”

 

Ernst also gave examples of times when the internet stopped functioning during school days this year due to weather conditions, which she added would be less likely to occur if the network would be updated to a fiber ring. Ernst said that if the Minnesota Legislature approves the fiber ring upgrade, each school that is part of the network would have to pay a fee.

 

Ernst said 70 percent of the upgrade cost will be reimbursed to the school through E-rate Federal Communication Commission (FCC) funding, which provides financial assistance for telecommunications in education across the country.  

 

In other business, the board discussed a request for a $2,216 tile repair reimbursement on a district property. Several board members opposed the reimbursement for the work, since the renter never notified the district the need of the repair.

 

“I struggled with it (paying the reimbursement),” board member Scott Rosenberg said. “I don’t disagree that it needed to be done… but I don’t agree with the process.”

However, the motion of paying 50 percent of the $2,216 by board member Joel Lorenz passed as four board members voted in favor.

 

The school board also approved:

 

  • Two applications from Larry Davis for the Nobles Home Initiative tax abatement program.
  • The tree removal quote from Kanengieter Construction and Tree Service for $24,500.
  • The 2017-2018 Southwest/West Central Services Cooperative contracts