LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Following a presentation intended to guide financial decision-making on technology for the coming year, the Pottsgrove School District Board of School Directors voted Tuesday (Jan. 27, 2009) to install optical fiber cables between the district office and outlying schools to boost computer bandwidth. The vote commits a substantial portion of the district’s proposed $209,000 computer maintenance costs for 2009-2010 to the project.
The “fiber build-out” cost, as it is called, and the remaining list of $1.06 million in recommended technology expenses, are already included in district budget planning for next year. By virtue of the board’s Jan. 13 agreement to limit raising district taxes next year by no more than 5.2 percent, the budget is expected to be restricted to about $52 million.
Benefitting from the fiber build-out will be Pottsgrove Middle School, and Lower and West Pottsgrove elementary schools. Laying fiber cable to Ringing Rocks Elementary School is being delayed until the board decides if and when renovations will be made to that building. Fiber cable is already laid between the district office, 1301 Kauffman Rd., and the adjacent Pottsgrove High School, and to the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit in Norristown PA.
Using fiber cable to replace existing lines will help the district increase the speed with which computers in the affected schools talk to each other and the district office. Because much of the communications traffic is used by students and teachers in classrooms, the extra bandwidth is considered an educational necessity. The annual cost of running the system may double, however, even when supplemented by grant funding the district expects to win.
The board’s unanimous decision came during its monthly work session meeting in the district office.