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School board holds first 2012-13 meeting

Authorizes 5-year lease to improve networks

Posted: August 14, 2012 - 11:01pm

The Juneau School District Board of Education returned from its summer break Tuesday evening for its first regular meeting of the 2012-13 school year.

Assistant Superintendent Laury Scandling briefed the board on a proposed five-year lease with Enterasys Secure Networks to modernize the district’s computer network infrastructure.

“I think many of you know we are already struggling with an infrastructure that’s been patched together over the past 20 years,” Scandling said.

Scandling said the patchwork nature of the system means it is not possible to quickly troubleshoot problems or diagnose strains on bandwidth.

The lease would cost about $498,000 over five years, with an interest rate just under 4 percent. When the lease is up, information technology supervisor Chris Murray said there will be a $1 buy-back option for leased equipment.

“It’s a complete replacement of all our current equipment,” Murray explained of the lease.

“Good,” said board member Mark Choate immediately. “I’m already in support of it.”

“I think it sounds good,” board member Barbara Thurston agreed.

Laurie Berg, a member of the public commenting on the proposal, said she was concerned about sticking the district with a lease for technology that could become obsolete.

“I’m not opposed to this. I mean, my concern is that technology is changing so quickly,” said Berg. “Maybe five years is too far out.”

Scandling responded that the lease could potentially be terminated.

“The lease is cancellable at any time if there is not an appropriation by the board for the lease,” Scandling said.

On a motion by school board member Kim Poole, the board unanimously authorized Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich to sign the Enterasys lease.

Enterasys also has a contract with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District for its district-wide networking infrastructure.

The school board also voted to submit the FY13 capital improvement plan to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development as the FY14 plan.

That plan includes proposed projects like renovations of Mendenhall River Community School and Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School, upgrades to career technology facilities, and an overhaul of the Marie Drake Building, among others.

Sean O’Brien was the only school board member not participating in the meeting. Andrea Story, the board’s vice president, participated telephonically.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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