By Kathy Turner
Among the first order of business for the Collinsville School Board on Monday, April 25, was recognition of the 2021/22 bowling team at Collinsville High School. Both the boys’ and girls’ bowling teams advanced to the state tournament this year. They were recognized by Superintendent Dr. Brad Skertich along with their coaches, Sean Hay, Charlie Johnson, Mark Bruncic, and Joe Legendre.
The board also received reports on potential grant funds for district as well as progress of grant-funded projects. Dr. Skertich reported that a grant in the amount of $112,020.99 is being sought from the US Department of Agriculture for the food service program. The grant is for Supply Chain Assistance Funds. Funds will be used exclusively to purchase unprocessed or minimally processed domestic food products to meet critical needs being faced by many districts. The district, along with many other districts in the region, often faces shortages due to unanticipated cancellation of supply and food contracts, reduced availability of certain foods, unanticipated substitution of foods ordered, and unanticipated increases in pricing. These funds will help the program meet the needs when these shortages occur.
The technology team reported on the new network management system that was purchased with grant funds and has been fully implemented in the district. This system will not only upgrade the technology but also provide increased security for the district to provide cyber-defense for district computer systems. An infrastructure upgrade is also in the planning and implementation stages and should be completed over the summer months to assure minimal interruptions to staff and teachers.
The district received word of the approval of a Digital Equity Grant in the amount of $320,000. These funds will be used to replace Chromebook and Dell computers for students that are coming to the end of their efficiency. This grant, along with Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) from the federal government, as a result of the pandemic, will allow the district to sustain the 1 to 1 provision of computers for students again this year.
The technology department reported that it has 200 private routers, 400 limited hotspots and 100 unlimited hotspots available to students who do not have internet access at home. Parents will be prompted, during online registration, to report if they have no internet access or limited access to allow the students to receive these resources at no cost at the beginning of the school year.
To end their report, the technology team reported they will be attempting to secure funds through the Department of Homeland Security to the networking team of the district on advanced cyber threats that exist in today’s world. The grant funds will also allow them to purchase additional protection for data that is stored by the district. In addition, members of the team will attend a meeting in the near future to determine whether it is worthwhile for the district to invest in penetration testing in the district to uncover vulnerabilities in the network.
In other news, Dr. Skertich reported that the Cops and Kahoks Program is in its second year and is well-received by the student participants and the police officers involved. Officers come from the Collinsville, Caseyville, Fairmont City and Maryville Departments.
There will be a special board meeting on May 31 to consider the bids for the Dorris Intermediate Addition. It is hoped that construction will begin by September 1 with a completion date of the beginning of the 23-24 school year.
In other business, the board took action on the following:
* Approved the purchase of a new Drivers’ Education Vehicle;
* Approved the Illinois Fixed-Wage Fee contract amendment and the food service contract for the upcoming school year;
* Approved the Request for Bids for the sale of the Collinsville Area Vocational program house;
* Approved new course offerings for the middle school; and,
* Approved the First Student Bus Company contract extension of an amendment to the student transportation services.
The Board adjourned for closed session, which included the election of new officers of the Board. The next meeting will be held on Monday, May 23.