By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
The Board of Education heard a proposal to fund a study on whether municipal broadband would make sense for Grand Island.
Deputy Town Supervisor Jim Sharpe pitched the opportunity to the BOE during a meeting held at Kaegebein Elementary School on Monday. The study by ECC Technologies Management would examine establishing a private network to a become independent from Time Warner Cable.
During the presentation, Sharpe said he worked on a similar broadband project when he was employed with the Sweet Home school district as director of technology. Sharpe was joined in the discussion by Matt Crider of ECC Technologies Management, who said the study would look at the existing network, costs and requirements. Funding half the $12,000 study would not lock the district into future commitments, Sharpe said.
Sharpe says the town has fiber optics connecting town properties, such as Golden Age Center, Town Hall and the Highway Department garage.
The trustees took no action at the meeting. Trustee Sue Marston asked Sharpe for a ballpark figure and a time frame for the project. Sharpe said the issue is approximately a "four-year period, if not longer." Crider said "to build fiber optics ... is about $40,000 a mile."
There would be no private or residential element to the project.
In other reports
•Eighth-grader Isabel Buckingham said in her student ambassador report from Veronica Connor Middle School that the music department concluded three performances of the musical "Elf Jr."
"It was a hit with families across the Island and anyone who was looking for a good laugh," Buckingham said.
She also said JV DECA regionals were "a tremendous success" with students. Their business presentations before a panel of judges encouraged the more than 20 students to be "self-confident and expressive," Buckingham said.
•Senior Zach Morano said in his student ambassador report from Grand Island High School that the students are starting to "reap all the benefits" from the capital project, which he described as an investment in students. He mentioned what he called the new "self-sustaining" technology wing and the upgraded auditorium.
"Sports is nuts this year," Morano also noted. The Vikings have won league championships in boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball. Those teams are also the top seeds in their respective Section VI playoffs.
Morano also had high praise for newly appointed principal Michael Lauria, who was a GIHS assistant principal three years ago and returned to the district this year to replace Dan Quartley. Lauria left his job at GIHS to take a principal's job in the Silver Creek district
"Mr. Lauria, he's the man. What can I say," Morano said, adding that as a freshman, "We had him there for a year and then, poof, gone, vanished, we didn't know where he went."
Morano said Lauria has a passion for students and wants to see kids excel and be self-sufficient in life beyond high school. Lauria, Morano said, wants a GI diploma to be "something that means something, something that really stands out."
•David Lesinski, Victoria Braun and Lenin Harper of the Grand Island High School Spotlighters drama club told the Board of Education that the club will present three performances of "Tales of Tots," one-act plays for children, Friday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5, at 3 p.m., and a school day show for the students at Sidway School.
"The kids love them. It's fun for the whole family," Lesinski said of the shows.
•Superintendent Brian Graham acknowledged the work of the school board members in noting Board Recognition Week. Trustee Joy LaMarca thanked the Kaegebein Elementary School students who gave board members tokens of appreciation.
•Lauria and Connor Middle School Principal John M. Fitzpatrick reminded all parents in emails Oct. 20 that the middle/high school bus lane should not be used to drop off students for the school day, intramurals, practice, or any other extracurricular event before or after school.
"The traffic patterns are strategically designed to protect student safety and ensure buses can efficiently load and unload students," Lauria said in an email.