Unified School District 475 received confirmation March 14 that the Kansas State Board of Education had approved the support of the Junction City High School Way Forward bond initiative. This approval commits the State of Kansas to funding 48 percent of the total bond amount pending community approval through a vote on May 9.
This means the state will pay its 48 percent match if the community votes yes for a new JCHS on a new site.
In order to leverage these state funds, the community must first pass a bond election. Without the passing of a bond election, the project will forfeit these state funds.
Superintendent Corbin Witt said last week prior to leaving for Washington D.C. for a National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS) conference that “… to move forward with a new high school we need three things to happen. First, gain approval for state funds, (which has occurred). Next, we need to receive the heavy impact aid payment. Lastly, the community will need to pass the bond election on May 9.”
In order to participate in this community decision, it is important to register to vote for the upcoming election. The last day to register for this vote is April 18. For additional resources on the JCHS Way Forward, visit www.usd475.org or contact Mat Droge at (785) 717-4066
Technology Roadmap Update
Technology is one reason behind the need for a new JCHS. The school’s technology backbone is in poor shape. The wifi is spotty and teachers have had to purchase their own hot spots so students can do classwork. The wifi equipment is more than 10 years old.
The USD 475 Board of Education heard an update on its district-wide technology roadmap at its March board meeting.
Right now, the district’s overall infrastructure is poor. More than half the district’s network is beyond manufacturer support and 30 percent isn’t even available to buy anymore. Only 12 percent of the network is updated.
Server infrastructure in the district is also bad. The architecture needs to be re-engineered and the refresh rate was poorly planned.
As far as technology infrastructure is concerned, it seems the district’s storage infrastructure is the aspect that’s in the best shape. It was updated in 2016.
The BOE heard about the current state of technology in the district. Throughout USD 475, there are roughly 10,000 devices with Windows operating systems installed. This includes many different computer models in use throughout the schools.
USD 475 has a six-year plan in place to deal with technology changes and issues as they arise.
The district already has about $1,000,000 budgeted over the course of the next five years, in the event some of its devices break. The district would also like to see more consistency in the types of computers and devices used in its classrooms over the years, as opposed to having teachers and students using many different models. USD 475 would like to eventually standardize its devices, and build a more robust network by raising its internet speed from 1 Gbps to about 7 Gbps by 2020.
This will take a complete overhaul of the network to achieve.