Dougherty County School System Finance Committee members Robert Youngblood and Carol Tharin heard a proposal from system IT Director Maurice Ficklin on Tuesday to spend $12.5 million over the next five fiscal years to completely refresh the District’s technology systems. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)
ALBANY — The Dougherty County School System Finance Committee has approved moving several items dealing with federal grants and bid approvals before the full school board.
The committee also heard a proposal from Director of Information Technology Maurice Ficklin to consider putting the system’s technology assets on a five-year “refresh plan” beginning in FY 2015. Ficklin told the committee that spending $12.5 million on a five-year plan would ensure a smooth transition, keep the district’s computers up to date and establish a steady budget line of $2.5 million per fiscal year over that period.
“No. 1, we can refresh all the technology in the school system and utilize the same amount of money we are currently spending,” Ficklin said. “Starting in FY2015 (July 1 of next year) we would refresh a certain number of schools and offices over the course of five years, ensuring our students will have top-notch equipment. It’s a lot of money, but we have to do this otherwise we will be short-changing our children.”
Ficklin added that some of the equipment could be paid for out of Title I funding.
“Right now I don’t now how many computers we have that are Title I or SIG (School Improvement Grant) eligible,” Ficklin said. “We are currently running an analysis on those numbers. It’s also important to know that we have approximately 12,000 end points (computers and tablets) in the system.”
The committee recommended that the full board hear Ficklin’s proposal.
In action items the committee approved sending three grants before the board - including a Title III-A LEP-ELA (limited English proficent - English second language) grant, a Title I-C Migrant Education grant and a Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities grant.
The committee also recommended that the full board approve four bids — for Workers Compensation Claims Management, an IT audit, and contracts for Microsoft software support and a Microsoft License.
DCSS Director of Finance and Operations Ken Dyer also informed the committee that the District’s current general fund reserve was hovering just over $12 million.
The full board will vote on the recommendations during its next meeting on Monday.