Shelton schools tech upgrade could be a federal gift

Exterior view of the Board of Education offices in Shelton, Conn. Nov. 5, 2020.

Exterior view of the Board of Education offices in Shelton, Conn. Nov. 5, 2020.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — City schools could soon get a million-dollar technology upgrade that may not cost taxpayers a dime.

The Board of Education has received the results of an audit of all the district’s technology needs — which, if all recommendations are authorized, would cost $1,197,846.

But while the terms of receiving the federal pandemic relief money have not yet been finalized, Superintendent Ken Saranich said he believes that the technology upgrade costs would be covered by American CARES Act funds if the district wanted to channel the funds that way.

“That would be the strong recommendation on my part,” Saranich said.

Saranich told the board at its meeting last week that the audit, performed by Chim Net, showed that much of the district’s technology is nearing end of life and needs to be replaced and upgraded.

The district paid ChimNet $16,380 for the wireless audit and $10,552 for the local area network, he said.

Saranich said using federal CARES Act funds for tech upgrades would remove a $1.2 million burden from the city’s shoulders.

A decision on upgrading the district’s tech — and deciding how to pay for it — is still a long way off, officials said.

Saranich also said that while the CARES Act money would cover the one-time upgrade cost, the district would need to budget an estimated $45,550 for annual licensing and support after the first year, which could grow to $76,223 three years after the work is complete.

Saranich said that the district would also be responsible for $78,520 every five years for the Meraki Wi-Fi licensing agreement.

The costs would need to be covered through the annual school budget, Saranich said.