Pettisville schools consider tech upgrade

By David J. Coehrs - [email protected]

A study conducted for Pettisville schools to determine what classroom technology needs an upgrade revealed equipment that doesn’t work and replacement parts no longer available.

Interim Superintendent Ken Boyer presented the findings made by Garmann Miller & Associates, a Minster, Ohio, architectural firm, in a summary to Board of Education members during a Monday meeting. The study found that many of the 30-plus classrooms in the school complex need new technology to replace decade-old equipment that is failing and can’t be repaired.

Boyer said Tuesday the majority of equipment failure revolves around classroom whiteboards, projectors, and speakers that are original to the building’s opening. He said the study was conducted as a guide to the school district’s short- and long-term planning to replace the faulty equipment, some provided by companies that have since gone out of business.

“We were just wanting to get an idea what new technology was available and if we had to replace things, and what we could be doing to upgrade,” Boyer said. “It’s an expensive proposition, so it’s not something you just jump right into. We went through this to give us kind of a road map before we can possibly go with this.”

An upgrade is estimated at $300,000 should the school district decide to complete it in its entirety. Boyer said the expense has left board members considering the need to complete the project in steps.

“We’re looking at ways to piecemeal that,” he said. “We’re just looking at a plan at how we can go about it.”

The interim superintendent said right now any plan to upgrade classroom technology is in a preliminary stage. He said the school district’s technical director isn’t yet familiar with the entire study summary and hasn’t offered suggestions to proceed. Boyer said the only current planning stage is how such a project should begin to be addressed.

“Those are decisions that are all down the road,” he said.

And because the school district will likely start reviewing applications for a permanent superintendent in mid-January, and begin interviewing for the position by early February, Boyer may pass the fledgling project onto his successor.

Pettisville BOE President Brent Hoylman said the study was conducted only as an assessment. But he agreed an upgrade in technology will eventually be needed.

“Especially this year with COVID…technology is our only option. Technology can limit exposure, be used as an aid,” he said. “From what I’ve been told, there are some instances where we can’t use that technology because we’re not properly outfitted or things aren’t working.”

Like personal technology equipment, “typically, we don’t start looking into replacement until we start having issues,” Hoylman added. “It’s pretty easy to get behind quickly.”

He said while Pettisville schools are in a very early stage of discussing upgrades, “technology is going to be ever more apparent and highly-used in our schools. At some point we’re going to have to upgrade technology.”

For now, the aging equipment isn’t having a detrimental effect on teaching, Boyer said. “Our people are doing a real good job. It hasn’t affected the quality of education that’s going on here. It would just enhance things if it were all working well.”

By David J. Coehrs

[email protected]

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.