At the Feb. 5 Seaford School District Board of Education meeting at Seaford Manor Elementary School, Executive Director for Instructional Technology and STEM Thomas Lynch and technology professional Rusveltte Carbon proposed an idea for a rewiring project throughout the district’s school buildings.
The funding for projects like this have been allocated through the Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014, which reserved $2 billion to New York public schools to use to finance technological improvements to their school buildings. There is currently $1,103,841 left in the bond.
Lynch and Carbon deemed the project a necessity for the district. Carbon evaluated all of Seaford’s infrastructure on Jan. 2-3. The current networking infrastructure was designed before the Personal Digital Learning Initiative that Seaford introduced in 2017, which gives students more of an opportunity to learn using personal devices like tablets and laptops.
Most of the district’s network wiring is Category 5, commonly referred to as Cat5, according to Carbon. He added that, in some instances, there is Cat3 and Cat6 wiring as well. The current industry standard is Cat6a.
“Cat5 cabling is about 20 years old,” Carbon said. “Cat 6a is the future.” Cat6a wiring would speed up processing times for technology in the school building.
Carbon and Lynch detailed that future technology may not be backward compatible with Cat5 cabling. Part of the “Smart Schools” pitch is to replace many of the schools’ wiring racks and switches. Carbon continued, saying that with more efficient wiring and the ability to set timers on certain equipment, like projectors, the district could save money on resources such as bulbs and electricity.
Nassau BOCES could oversee the installment of the project, if it were approved. Murphy explained that the district could receive 65 percent of the aid on BOCES management fees, if they oversaw the project.