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School as wireless provider?

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The Yellow Springs school district, in partnership with other local agencies, could potentially become a wireless Internet provider for the entire village. At the school board meeting Thursday, Feb. 9, the board passed a resolution supporting a state grant application to complete a feasibility study on the possibility of becoming such a provider in Yellow Springs.

The Miami Valley Educational Computer Association, or MVECA, hopes to partner with the local school district, as well as potentially the Village of Yellow Springs and Antioch College, to utilize the district’s fiber optic lines to offer wireless internet to local residents, businesses and visitors passing through the village, according to MVECA Executive Director Thor Sage at Thursday’s meeting. As a service provider, each entity in the partnership would receive revenue from its constituent subscribers, who would likely receive their wireless service at a reduced rate with opportunities for sliding scale rates for lower-income users, District Superintendent Mario Basora said during the meeting.

MVECA proposed the opportunity to apply for Ohio’s Local Government Innovation Funds that promote efficiencies through shared services between local agencies. The grants are for a maximum of $100,000, with a 10 percent local match, which could include in-kind services, such as staff time devoted to help generate the feasibility study and review the results.

Having reviewed the program for about six months, Basora believes it could be “a wonderful opportunity” to bridge learning at school with learning at home, and a good source of revenue for the district. With the schools on track to reinvent its use of the Internet as a teaching and learning resource, Basora feels it is imperative that the access to technology be available for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

“I believe that technological literacy is the next big civil right,” he said. “It’s incumbent on us as a school district to teach kids how to use information and empower them to take control of their own learning.”

The grant application is due in March.

In other school board business:

•The district is working with DJ and Justin Galvin of Urban Handmade to establish a new district-wide logo in conjunction with the renewal of the Class of 2020 strategic plan. A group is currently working on a design that reflects an identity of “fearless thinkers.”

•The board adopted the 2012–13 school calendar that begins on Aug. 21, 2012 and ends May 31, 2013.

• The board approved supplemental contracts to retain spring musical staff Katie Manns, choreographer with $472 stipend; James Johnston, assistant musical director with $1,888 stipend; Peter and Isabelle Dierauer, McKinney boys and girls track coaches with $997 stipend each; John Gudgel and Vince Peters, high school boys and girls track coaches with $4,294 stipend each; baseball co-coaches Dan West, with $1,180 stipend, and Jason Randolph with $944 stipend.

The following were approved as substitute teachers at a stipend of $80/day: Ben Lightner, David Anderson, Amanda Bailey, Katie Manns, Paula Robinson, Regina Sullivan, Ted Wasserman and Berlinda Wisecup.

• The board heard statements from students, faculty and parents about the decision to put high school chemistry teacher Michelle Edwards on administrative leave last week. Board members closed the meeting by going into executive session to discuss a personnel issue, but they did not vote on official business afterward.



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