By Lindsay Carey
Karen Veilleux, the technology director for Southington Public schools, appeared before the Board of Education recently to gain approval for a request to the state for $1,531,045 in new technology for each middle school.
Including both DePaolo and Kennedy Middle Schools, the technology request that will be sent to the state is about $832,000 above the original budget figure.
The Board of Education unanimously approved both requests.
Veilleux explained that cuts will be made once the state approves request and the Technology Department makes their final bids on the products, so that the budget will not be exceeded. Once this happens, the plan will go back to the Building Committee for approval before purchases are made.
The technology director worked with the middle school principals and the technology team during the last week of school to come up with the technology plan.
David Derynoski, among other members of the board, expressed concern about sending a request to the state that was over budget.
“It seems like you’re asking for approval from the state for money than you plan on spending, for items that you may not buy,” said Derynoski.
Veilleux explained that everything needed tobe included for the states approval, because when cuts are made there might be room to add in a different product elsewhere. However, if an item is not on the list it cannot be purchased as a part of the project.
“If it wasn’t in here, we couldn’t buy it,” said Veilleux. “If we decided we wanted to cut computers here and add in a part elsewhere, we wouldn’t be able to go to that option.”
Veilleux referred to creating the plan as a “monumental task” at the Board of Education meeting on July 10.
“It takes a lot of time to do this,” she said. “You have to get vendors, part numbers, estimated prices and dealing with different venders getting the information.”
Some of the technology needs in the request include interactive projectors for the white boards, new servers, wireless infrastructure for the building, a video distribution system, desktop computers, student computers, digital music, an audio video auditorium projector and sound system, as well as additional printers and scanners for the unified arts areas.
Derynoski also shared his concerns about the technology project beginning with the planning phase.
“I think it’s very unfair of the Building Committee to put the burden on you in putting this plan together with such short notice,” said Derynoski. He felt that the plan should have been created much earlier.
However, with no one from the Building Committee present, Veilleux explained that the rush was caused by a turn over at the state.
She said that there will only be one person reviewing projects during this time and that it could extend the time outline for the project.
“We don’t know how long it’s going to sit at the state,” said Vellieux. “It could be months.”