Effingham County school board members got a look at what the near future holds for its technology needs.
Jeff Lariscy, the information technology coordinator for the Effingham County School system, showed the school board at its meeting Thursday night the planned technology expenses for the next special purpose local option sales tax cycle.
Assistant Superintendent Greg Arnsdorff thanked board members for their interest in the area of technology and told the board all funds for new equipment come from SPLOST funds. SPLOST proceeds account for 64 percent of technology funding.
“The state used to provide each district funds from the lottery,” he said. “Due to increased demands for the Hope scholarship and the Pre-K programs, the funding has dried up. Everything we do with technology is funded from the local board.
“We are certainly appreciative and we know our teachers are of the increased allocation in the next five-year SPLOST III.”
Lariscy gave board members a breakdown of where the SPLOST funds will be directed over the next five years. The largest portion of the five-year plan is for computers. This includes all new and replacement computers. Lariscy said computers routinely are replaced every three years in the business world.
“We don’t have that luxury due to funding limitations,” he said. “We make them last as long as we possibly can, but at a certain point they become non functional and they have to be replaced.”
The school system got a recent donation from the U.S. Attorney’s office. Equipment they use is also used in school system offices, Lariscy said, and the system will get 36 computers from them as the U.S. Attorney’s upgrade.
“It still works for us,” he said. “We get those when we can.”
Lariscy told the board a new computer costs about $790. He said if the computer is for a new setup, it could cost the system an additional $100 to $150 in order to connect the computer to the system’s network.
Arnsdorff said the board does get requests to take equipment as a donation that the board at times must turn down.
“Sometimes it’s not in our best interest to accept them,” he said. “For example, although the systems from the U.S. Attorney’s office are better than some the machines we have currently operating in our district, they are coming without a hard drive. Of course, the U.S. Attorney’s office has to remove all the hard drives for security purposes. Jeff has to make a decision — is he going to have some type of configuration that doesn’t require a hard drive, or are we going to replace the hard drive. Even those come with a cost.”
Arnsdorff said they try to make a decision on equipment that will serve the best interests of the system “financially as well as functionally.”
Lariscy told the board along with the new and replacement computers there will be computers purchased for mobile labs, stationary labs, and there is a budget for unforeseen needs.
Lariscy said the total amount budgeted will cover the cost of approximately 2,400 computer systems throughout the district. The total budget for computers over the next five years is $2.18 million.