Royal ISD technology chief describes district’s tech needs

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 9/15/22

Mike Nicholas, Royal ISD technology director, described changes he would like to see if voters approve a bond expected to be put on the May 23 ballot.

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Royal ISD technology chief describes district’s tech needs

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Mike Nicholas, Royal ISD technology director, described changes he would like to see if voters approve a bond expected to be put on the May 23 ballot.

The first priority would be putting interactive flat panels in each classroom. Nicholas said these panels have been the industry standard for years. In 2020, he said, 93% of schools purchased at least one such panel for classroom use. He said the panels increase student engagement, they are portable and they have a longer life. He said the cost for such panels in each classroom would be about $750,000.

Presently, Nicholas said, the district uses ENO boards and projectors purchased in 2013. He said they are unusable due to lost and broken parts. The manufacturer, he said, is out of business and is unable to replace them. As a result, he said, students and teachers are behind the technology curve and at a disadvantage.

Another priority is replacing the network infrastructure at the five district campuses. Nicholas said Wi-Fi 6e is the latest standard, and is more dense and faster. He said the network upgrades directly benefit students. The upgrades accommodate extra growth for network power devices like phones and security cameras. He said the cost for replacing the network infrastructure would be about $1 million.

Presently, Nicholas said, the district performed a “forklift” upgrade in 2015 for $720,000. He said it uses Wi-Fi 5, and the manufacturer support will end for the current gear in May 2023.

Nicholas called for multi-use space for the district’s office, work, Police Department and Geek Squad. He described this as dedicated multi-use space that reduces the amount of time for large projects. Furthermore, he said, it would serve as a permanent base of operations for the District’s Geek Squad. It would not displace campus space for students. It could also be used for training in large meetings.

Presently, Nicholas said, the current dedicated space for technology at the high school is about 300 square feet. He said it must support repairs, office space and meeting and presentation space. For meetings involving large projects, the technology must use campus space, but as the campuses grow, there is little to no room for supplies and gear.

The other priority is for a vehicle capable of towing a small trailer. Nicholas described it as a district vehicle that would enable projects to be completed faster. A purpose-built vehicle would keep items more secure, he said.

Currently, Nicholas said, the technology staff must often move large items for meeting setup some projects both inside and outside the district. Currently, he said, personal vehicles must be used or borrowed a vehicle must be barred from the maintenance department.

Nicholas said vehicle availability impacts project completion time. He said borrowing district vehicles impacts the efficiency of other departments.

Royal ISD, technology, bond

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