District delays bond funding for IT
The Oct. 2, 2018 NUSD board meeting marked a shift in the allocation of funds across the district. The board approved a plan to defer funding from certain IT upgrades until 2021. This came as part of the board’s plans to distribute Measure G funding to specific projects across the district over the next few years.
The board was tasked with deciding which projects they would defer and which would begin construction or implementation in the summer of 2019.
After over an hour of debate, the board voted to approve air conditioning projects at three elementary schools and turf fields at
Novato High School. The board also voted to delay about half of the Measure G funding planned for IT upgrades until 2021 as well as to halve funds for planned twenty first century furniture upgrades.
Planned IT upgrades include increasing bandwidth internet accessibility as well as funding a “teacher toolkit”.
According to Yancy Hawkins, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations, under the board’s plan, “about 60% of the IT infrastructure upgrades would have to be delayed until 2021.”
The delayed IT funding means that students and staff will continue working with the technology that is already in place rather than receiving system updates. It also means that the bandwidth on campuses will remain the same for the time being. Teachers have noticed that with the increase in the amount of technology and chromebook usage in classes, the internet has slowed down and is less functional.
French teacher Jeffrey Moore voiced his opinion on the IT infrastructure delays and their possible impact on students saying, “While slick, brochure-friendly modular furniture and the latest technological gadgetry would be ideal, our internet infrastructure would still be of more critical importance.”
Another upgrade intended to improve classroom accessibility was new furniture, which meant to replace broken and aging furniture in classrooms. The more modern furniture is designed to create more flexible spaces in classrooms.
Teachers see the proposed furniture, which would have wheels to make group work and movement in classrooms easier, as a step toward supporting student learning.
The furniture funding is not delayed indefinitely; like the IT upgrades, furniture upgrades are planned for 2021.
The decision to move forward on the Novato High School (NHS) field upgrades was prompted by the new theater under construction at NHS. The theater’s location required the board to look at moving tennis courts and other athletics facilities. Both NHS and San Marin are looking to install turf for their softball and baseball fields.
The project at San Marin was delayed due to ongoing issues with the stadium lights installed last year. The board decided that this element might prohibit San Marin Athletics from knowing exactly what facilities upgrades and plan would work best, as the department does not know yet what game turnout will be like or how night games may be scheduled.
As it stands, NHS fields are currently being updated with the turf already having been purchased and contract awarded.