By Naomi Hatch
E-Rate vendors were approved by the Snowflake School District Governing Board last week. E-Rate is a federal program that provides discounts on telecommunications and Internet access to schools and libraries across the nation.
The proposals were presented to the board by the district’s information technology director, Kent Drugge. He explained that proposals were received from vendors and evaluated for their services using Federal Communications Commission, Universal Service Administrative Company, and School and Libraries Division guidelines.
Due to being in a rural area the district has somewhat limited choices for services. Drugge recommended approval of Frontier Communications for basic phone service, Verizon for cellular phone services and Frontier Communications for long distance services.
After reviewing nine proposals for web hosting service, Drugge, educational technology trainer/teacher Brian Weir and Superintendent Hollis Merrell recommended using School Webmasters.
Drugge said that one reason for the decision was that School Webmasters will maintain the program, not just set up a first class web site.
“This would be a public relations investment,” said Merrell, noting in addition to having the firm create a new website that would be really professional, “they’d keep it up to date.”
Board President Cory Johnson said that he and board member Shea Flake have been talking the last few months about trying to reach out to the community and keep the website more up to date.
A motion to approve the E-rate proposals as presented passed unanimously.
In other action Feb. 14, the board:
* Unanimously approved the district’s June 30, 2012, audit prepared by Heinfeld, Meech & Co.
Business Manager Mark Ollerton noted that the audit was the best the district has had in his 17 years with the district.
The district implemented two minor changes that came from the audit and has an action plan for the other two items.
* Approved a fundraiser for Snowflake Junior High School presented by Principal Kim Lewis.
Lewis noted that the fundraiser was his idea and will have no overhead. He explained that students could pay $1 to listen to their iPods during lunch and class time if it does not interrupt class activities.
Board member Carol Palmer expressed concern about monitoring what students listen to.
Lewis said he would not have recommended this five years ago. “The student climate has changed…If it gets out of control, we’ll shut it down,” he said.
“The culture and climate are a lot different,” said Merrell, noting the SJHS administration and staff have done a lot of work to change that.
In response to a question from board member John Stewart, Lewis explained that a wristband or stamp on the hand would identify students who have paid the $1.
* Approved a request from Ollerton to secure a line of credit with Wells Fargo, as requested by Navajo County.
Ollerton explained that the line of credit would only be used for an emergency item, but said that due to the way the state does business, the district has not received final funding until after the fiscal year the past two years and has had to use the line of credit to pay the final salaries of teachers. It was paid off as soon as money was received from the state.
* Tabled a request to allow out-of-state travel for Glen Stuart to attend an airbrush conference in Las Vegas, Nev., was tabled, because the information was not submitted in time.
* Approved out-of-state travel to allow 70 band and orchestra students from band and orchestra to attend a festival scheduled May 2-5 in California.
Students will perform at Six Flags in the morning and after lunch, then spend the rest of the day there. Funding will come from fundraising, extracurricular activities tax credits and parent contributions.
By Naomi Hatch