Corporation to provide schools with faster internet

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. students, faculty and staff will have access to faster Internet speeds later this year.

School board members on Monday unanimously approved a three-year contract with the Zayo Group, based in Boulder, Colorado, for $45,576 to bring speeds of 5 gigabits per second to the school corporation. The upgrade in speed will replace an existing 1 gigabit connection and should bring notable improvements throughout the district, said Mike Jamerson, director of technology.

Currently, the district has two internet connection points that provide speeds of 3 gigabits per second, Jamerson said. The approval of the contract with the Zayo Group will replace an existing agreement with one of the district’s providers, Education Networks of America, that expires June 30.

BCSC was able to take advantage of a 60 percent discount for the contract with the Zayo Group through the federal E-rate program, which provides funding to libraries and schools for telecommunication services through a universal service fund charge commonly found on phone bills.

Forty percent will be paid out of BCSC’s technology budget, while the E-rate discount covers the remaining portion, Jamerson said. The 5 gigabit speeds should be in place sometime in June.

The school board also awarded a separate contract to AT&T for $1,152 to provide a Wide Area Network, or WAN, connection for the district’s Restart program operated at the Youth Services Center on Illinois Street.

The Restart program serves BCSC students in grades 7 through 12 who may have a history of chronic behavior or discipline problems, said Andrea Quick, director of the McDowell Education Center. It targets students who are at risk of being expelled, have been expelled, or may have been referred to the program via an expulsion hearing, Quick said.

The Restart program accesses the BCSC network through a virtual private network. The district’s Wide Area Network will eliminate the need for the private network connection for participants in the Restart program, Jamerson said.

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com