Cleveland School District to boost Internet services
by Rory Doyle
Mar 09, 2013 | 1534 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cleveland School District Board of Trustees reviewed needed technology upgrades at Thursday's monthly board meeting.

Discussion focused on boosting Internet and telecommunications services as usage continues to increase in this digital era.

The board voted to approve the bid from InLine, a provider company based in Birmingham, Ala., and Jackson.

The three-year contract has a total cost of $98,448, but the Mississippi Department of Education would support 85 percent of the deal through an E-rate portion, leaving the the district with a cost of $12,552.12.

"We need this update due to our expiring contract with AT&T and a demand for better services related to student testing," said CSD Assistant Superintendent Brenda Ellis.

InLine would also improve the network's bandwidth and wireless capabilities, which Ellis said currently bogs down with the amount of students logging in through handheld devices.

"We have so many people trying to access our network wirelessly," said Ellis. "Students are connecting with iPads, iPhones and even computers, and they slow everything down and freeze software."

The proposed plan would establish the central office as the Internet hub and extend services from there out to district schools.

The board determined an extensive review of contract details was necessary before an official commitment to the agreement would be made.

Non-profit private schools, along with public schools and libraries, can receive discounted telecommunications services through the E-rate program, a national platform established in 1997 by the U.S. Department of Education.

The E-rate program is administered by the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company.

It is designed to ensure that all eligible schools and libraries have affordable access to modern telecommunications and information services.

Up to $2.25 billion annually is available to provide the discounts for authorized services.

The E-rate provides discounts of 20-90 percent for eligible telecommunications services, depending on economic need and location (urban or rural).

The level of discount is based on the percentage of students eligible for participation in the National School Lunch Program or other federally approved alternative mechanisms.

The new provider, InLine, offers services for Internet, information technology, managed services and networking.

The company works in a variety of markets, from small, medium and commercial business to state government and education.