board meeting stream

The Committee of the Whole meeting Monday was only available to view via online stream due to social distancing restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Board members were also required to be seated six feet apart.

Iredell-Statesville Schools is currently recommending that the new high school in southern Iredell County be built off of Overcash Road in Troutman.

Kenny Miller, assistant superintendent for facilities and planning, made the recommendation to the Board of Education at the monthly Committee of the Whole meeting Monday.

The funds to build the high school will be allocated from the 2020 school bonds that Iredell citizens voted to approve in March.

I-SS purchased the 106-acre plot of land in 2008 to address growth in the area, but the project was shelved due to the 2008 recession, Miller said.

Miller said they were recommending the Overcash site because of the size of land, the favorable watershed restrictions and the suitable access to water and sewer.

Miller said that Rob Jackson and Scott Hager would be leading the work on the new high school. Both are in the I-SS construction projects department.

The preliminary infrastructure and design phase will begin in the next few months, Miller said.

Due to the economic impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Miller said that they will be looking at things carefully in terms of cost.

“We don’t want to rush anything,” Miller said, “not with the bid climate like it is and how the economy is.”

In other business:

» I-SS requested that the board approve emergency funding to purchase an additional 45 MacBooks and an additional 75 iPads to be used to replace damaged or lost machines.

It also requested the purchase of chargers and additional parts for repairs.

An additional portion of the request was the purchase of personal protection equipment, such as gloves and masks, for the technology team to use during device collection.

The funding totals to $100,000 and would be allocated from emergency state funds that the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction issued to each district in the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board is set to vote on the measure at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.

Board member Bill Howell requested, if possible, that the personal protection equipment not be purchased from China. Fellow board member Ken Poindexter seconded the request.

» I-SS also requested approval to continue using Filewave Device Management Software for managing the district’s 17,500 devices.

The software allows I-SS to monitor usage, deploy updates and shut down devices that may be lost or stolen.

The annual fee for the software would be $128,844. David Edwards, executive director of technology and media services, said that the fee amount is the same as last year’s.

Poindexter voiced concerns about the software, pointing out that it would cost $7.36 per device.

“That’s very expensive,” Poindexter said.

Another board member, Sam Kennington, said that while it is expensive, it is a valuable asset for I-SS.

“It might be expensive,” Kennington said, “but I’m sure glad that my two grandsons can’t surf the internet.”

Poindexter said that he approves of having a software program but that he wanted I-SS to look at other vendors to reduce costs.

Edwards said that there would be significant up front costs in switching vendors.

Howell, who voted against approving the software last year, said that he didn’t like the use of the software as the reason for last year’s vote.

“I felt like we were spying on our students,” Howell said. “We do have a certain right to privacy, and this takes that away.”

Howell said that he is unsure of how he will vote on the measure at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.

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