The cost of cooperative school technology has increased.

For many, the 2020-21 school year was a tough one for the Union R-XI School District Technology Program.

The cost of programming for a four-member department is $ 1.4 million, much higher than in previous years. During the 2009-20 school year, the technology program cost $ 726,716.

At a December meeting, District Technology Coordinator Matt Jones said: The revenue stream was mostly (federal) covide funds, and most of it turned out to be for the sake of virtual learning.

He said the district expects the program budget to be close to previous years for the 2021-22 school year.

Increasing distance learning means additional work orders for four people in the Department of Technology. Employees received 3,154 work orders, up from 2,249 last year. The biggest repair request for Chromebook laptop computers comes with 649.

“We’ve spent a lot of time repairing damaged Chromebooks,” Jones said. “It’s very common for this type of environment.”

One of the district’s priorities is to increase the bandwidth of the digital network and replace aging equipment. According to Jones, the Union R-XI replaced 600 Chromebooks in the 2020-21 academic year.

The district also distributed 475 iPad tablet computers, provided wireless access points in all school parking spaces for virtual learning and provided Internet access to students and homeless families.

The district has set up a backup generator for the data center, which will keep it out of power, Jones said. “I’ve noticed this happens twice in middle school, so it’s still a good investment.”

He also said that the district has distributed a new telephone system with more than 370 handsets.

To improve safety, the district has added door cameras to all campuses.

Board President Dr. Virgil Weideman praised Jones and his department.

“I am always impressed by what you have achieved and the technical skills of you and your staff,” he said. “You guys are miracle workers as far as I know.”


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