School Board Passes Preliminary SSIP Plans

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The Hicksville Board of Education accepted the district’s preliminary plans for its Smart School Investment Plan (SSIP) at their Wednesday, Feb. 15 board meeting. The plans, which were presented by Assistant Superintendent for Business Marcy Tannenbaum and Director of Technology and Grants Dan Friedman, propose to update and advance the classroom technology in all district schools, improve the district’s network Wi-Fi structure and its security and introduce new high-tech security at the front of every building in the form of mantraps.

Friedman said that since 2007, the district has acquired more than 200 SMART boards and bright light projectors, but that the older units are “showing signs of fatigue.” The new plan would replace about 110 of the district’s oldest devices, in addition to adding 26 SMART boards into classrooms that don’t already have them.

The SSIP also calls for improved security at the front of schools in the district. This includes mantraps at the front of buildings, which Friedman explained are “essentially air traps” which would be separate from employee entrances, and are where “the visitor would enter, show their identification, state their purpose and then they can enter the building.” However, mantraps will not be put in place at East Street School and the middle school, Friedman said, due to the amount of construction that would be required at those buildings.

Finally, the SSIP also includes increased wireless connectivity in both the middle school and the elementary schools, as well as increased virtual security.

“We’re always concerned with physical intruders entering our building,” Friedman said. “But we’re also concerned about virtual intruders.” The SSIP proposes a new internal and external firewall that can look for known viruses and suspect behavior.

The total cost of the SSIP is estimated to be $2.1 million, Friedman claimed. This entire plan would be funded by the Smart Schools Bond (SSB) Act, which was passed in 2014 by New York State, and awarded $2 billion to all school districts in the state. The Hicksville district was awarded a $1.5 million share, which will cover most of the SSIP cost. The rest of the cost is covered by a $577,000 reimbursement the district is expecting from the Federal E-Rate Program.

These approved preliminary plans are now posted on the district website, along with Friedman’s presentation, and will remain on the site for 30 days.

“In the next board meeting, we are going to ask the board to adopt a resolution that will be the final plan so we can send that to the state,” Tannenbaum said. The board expects to purchase the technologies upon approval from the state in July.

Superintendent Carl Bonuso also spoke about the district’s efforts to do more in the community and create partnerships.

“We have a long and proud history of partnering with our community,” he said, “but we keep trying to expand those partnerships and make all those partnerships more effective.”

Bonuso said they are looking at up to two dozen potential sites for internships for students.

“As a result of the efforts of [Board of Education President Phil] Heckler and the entire board of education, we’re looking at more and more connections and opening more and more possibilities for internships,” he said.

Secretary Michael Beneventano also mentioned that they are reaching out through Facebook to try to get more internships from local business owners.

Bonuso also announced that IKEA was going to post student work in the lead-in of the store for the entire month of March. IKEA will be having an event on Thursday, March 2 from 6:30 to 7 p.m. to begin the display of student work.

The next Board of Education meeting is a committee meeting on March 8 at 7 p.m. in the Administration Building at 200 Division Avenue.

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David Capobianco is a journalism student at LIU Post and a contributing writer for Anton Media Group.

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