Cumberland Times-News

October 9, 2012

BOE pledges to help in Internet service upgrade

Members agree to commit $100,000 to a $600,000 grant

Kristin Harty Barkley
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — The Allegany County Board of Education has pledged to do its part to upgrade the county’s aging but reliable internet service, agreeing to commit $100,000 toward a $600,000 grant.

In an action added at the last minute to the board’s Tuesday business meeting, members voted 4-0 to write a letter of support for county-led efforts to attain a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The $300,000 ARC grant requires matching funds from Allconet’s three partners — the BOE, the city and the county.

Developed in 1996, Allconet  — or Allegany County Network — provides Internet and Intranet connectivity and related services to more than 40 government entities and nonprofit organizations.

“The Allconet system provides internet services not only for the board of education but for the entire region,” said Nil Grove, the BOE’s chief technology officer, who strongly recommended the board support the grant application.

On Tuesday night, BOE member Mike Llewellyn initially said he wanted more information before making a decision, saying the board hadn’t been given enough time to consider it.

County leaders asked the BOE to commit funds after Tuesday’s agenda was assembled. They asked for a response by Oct. 15, Grove said.

The school system could be partially reimbursed for its match depending upon which funding source it uses, she said.

“It’s a vital tool used by all of us,” Grove said. “The equipment is 10 years old now, and this equipment is no longer available. No longer can we purchase the equipment nor can we provide parts for it.”

Board member Jeff Metz wasn’t present for the vote.

In other business on Tuesday, the BOE:

• Approved 4-0 the fiscal year 2012 audit conducted by Huber, Michaels & Co. The BOE received an “unqualified” rating, the highest rating available. A complete copy of the audit is available at www.boe.allconet.org. Click on Administrative Services, then on Finance.

• Approved 4-0 first readings of a policy that mandates accessibility on field trips for disabled students, per federal law.

• Approved 4-0 revisions to a policy for employee participation in political activities, effective immediately.

• Approved 4-0 a policy requiring that all schools have an ample supply of epinephrine and designated personnel to apply it, per a new state law that was effective July 1.

Contact Kristin Harty Barkley at kbarkley@times-news.com.