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School board to ink wireless Internet deal

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The Rainy River District School Board is expected to approve its operating agreement with several parties involved in a wireless communications project at its regular meeting here tonight.

“This is to make it official,” Stephen Danielson, the board’s systems administrator, said yesterday. “We’ve had a working partnership up until now, otherwise the tower wouldn’t have been put up [behind Robert Moore School].

“But right now, we really don’t have anything in writing. This formalizes our agreement,” he noted.

The Rainy River District Connect Project, a venture meant to give district schools a boost in their Internet service, is a partnership between the public school board, the Northwest Catholic District School Board, Northwest ConX, and GE Capital.

Through Northwest ConX, the board will be able to triple the size of bandwidth in the “backbone” from Fort Frances to Rainy River, said Danielson.

One-third of the bandwidth will be dedicated to the board’s usage.

Without Northwest ConX, the cost of creating a backbone network from here to Rainy River would have cost 25 times more than the board’s $60,000 capital contribution, he added.

The board’s public-sector partner, the local Catholic school board, will get a virtual private network connecting Our Lady of the Way School in Stratton to St. Francis here.

A Catholic board rep will be on hand to sign the agreement tonight, and a contract from GE Capital will be presented to Education Director Warren Hoshizaki.

“To find a vendor to provide the means of feeding the schools from central sites and the backbone network, we released a tender outlining our goals and expectations,” said Danielson.

“GE Capital, in partnership with WiBand Communications, was awarded the tender by providing the comprehensive wireless solution with Cisco Systems equipment,” he added, noting the cost of the tender was $500,000.

Danielson added he hopes the four-phase project will be fully operational by Christmas.

The wireless project partnership will be honoured with the board’s “Recognition of Excellence.”

The meeting’s second “Recognition of Excellence” will go to Crossroads School in Devlin. Principal Brian Love will give a presentation on projects and programs his school has undertaken.

Other business on tonight’s agenda includes:

•a report on the school closure committee by trustee Ron McAlister;

•the October personnel report, which notes leaves of absence for one teacher and one educational assistant, and resignations for one teacher and one educational assistant;

•a report from trustee Judy Eluik on the most recent finance committee meeting;

•regular reports by board chair Gord McBride and Education Director Warren Hoshizaki;

•reports to the board on recent occupational health and safety committee meetings; and

•two revised policies--3.50 (course subsidies for elementary teaching staff) and 4.17 (playground safety/danger of strangulation)--will be up for trustee approval.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the board office adjacent to Robert Moore School.

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