January 30, 2014The following is information about the technology bond, provided by the school district (part 1 of 3):
What is a technology bond proposition?
A technology bond proposition is a request by the school district for voters to approve the sale of bonds, which raise funds to purchase equipment, renovate and/or construct facilities and infrastructure to support the district's technology plan.
Why is a technology bond proposal necessary?
We have computers that are older than the elementary students using them. We have a network that cannot sustain the technological demands of today's classrooms. We have to ak for help to move beyond this. It cannot be accomplished within our existing general budget. The board has chosen to pursue the technology bond proposal because it permits the district to defray the capital cost of its plan for instructional and security technologies and related facilities without using general fund dollars.
When will voters get to decide?
After receiving the RFQs for the architectural technology design, the board of eucation approved ballot language Nov. 25. Voters in Grosse Pointe Public School System will be asked if they support a bond issue on Feb. 25, to replace aging district technology and infrastructure to support its stratgeic plan for continuous improvement in providing 21st century leanring. The length of the bond program is 10 years and the amount is not to exceed $50.2 million. For planning purposes, the original GPPSS proposal was for $48 million and a two-series bond was proposed. Through the RFQ process the current proposale was developed with the help of Ehresman, Wright & Hunter and Peter Basso Associates totaling $50,280,000. The documents are posted on the website reflect those figures.
How much will this cost the average taxpayer?
The district weighed several options to minimize the cost to taxpayers while providing the technological requirements of today's learners and putting the district back on competitive ground with other school systems. Seven and ten year bonds as well as issuing a sseries of bonds were considered.
Why did you only do one bid through the RFQ process?
The Technology Design RFQ posted on the school systems' website was a request to provide consulting services. No actual equipment, infrastructure or installation work bids will be provided until the projects are engineered, specified and publicly bid following the vote.
Was leasing of the laptops/desktops/fiber evaluated?
Leasing is not an eligible use of bond funds.
Will there be a standard number of quotes from different vendors presented before a final recommendation is made?
The district works diligently providing a transparent bidding process for all purchases. All purchases above $21,000 are required to go through the bid process and are brought before the Board of Education at televise and webcast board meetings, and all documents are posted online at gpschools.org. We encourage our community to come to board meetings, watch them on TV or online and explore the detail provided on our website.
Why are we asking for fiber when we should use "the cloud" instead?
Cloud storage will continue to be part of the district's storage strategy for student assignments and collarboartive digital resources. Multimedia resources such as video curriculum that are large file sizes, make local storage critical to the distribution of digital curricular materials. The digital materials are being accessed all day by thousands of students and teachers simultaneously. Considering Google and other strage providers' recent definition of ownership to data stored in the cloud, confidential data such as human resources, grade books and other materials also need to be securely stored locally (in-district).
Why has it been decided that iPads are the standard device to be given to students?
That decision has not yet been made. As described below, we continue to investigate our options
The current estimated price is $500/device. Does this take into account the increase in price per device over the life of the bond based on inflation and further generations of the device?
Yes. However, please note: the per unit price for desktops and laptops (as delineated in the draft proposal after the RFQ process) is $1,200, while the student computing devices remain at $500.
If mobile devices are given, will protective cases be given as well?
The district has carefully considered this and the $500/student device budget accommodates protective cases. It is also important to remember that our GPPSS families have a tradition of protecting our educational resources and we see no reason why this technological resource would be any different.
What is our current network capacity?
Our current network is at capacity. At the end of the 2012-13 school year, with online grading systems and reliance on e-mail and Internet for both educational and business demands, we were exceeding network capacity and losing Internet access regularly at peak hours of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What will be the network load of a 1:1 program with tablets, with laptops, with tablet and laptops?
Our first step in the deployment of this bond will be to address the underlying infrastructure so we can accommodate the network load of 1:1 techology as well as the more efficient security and business operations also encompassed in this bond intiative. Our technology staff has carefully studied this and consulted with experts to ensure we are prepared.
In line with the 1:1 program, how weill the decision be made on what tablet to roll out?
The district has been carefully reviewing the technology purchases of other school districts and their satisfaction with a number of variables including, but not limited to: flexibility with different learning needs (special education and foreign language are two key examples), suitability for age group, use with different software and online texbooks, damage and loss statistics and cost. We have been collecting empirical research, visiting other districts, asking colleagues across the state and country, comparing curricular options and discussing these with representatives from various companies. With the help of the Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education, we have also been piloting several different tablet options within our own GPPSS classrooms. The pilot programs will continue through the 2013-14 school year. As the first bond purcases must be directed to the infrastructure of the network, we have time before the final tablet decision is made.