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District 54 hires tech consultant

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 9:12 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 9:14 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – District 54 has hired Unified Concepts for technology support instead of hiring a new IT director.

The District 54 school board voted, 6-0, with Dave Obrochta absent, to hire Unified Concepts instead of filling the open IT position.

The one-year contract will provide an outsource team with monitoring and a technician on-site two days a week for eight hours, at an annual cost of $66,880.

“We would like to add an additional three days a week for the technician at the beginning of the school year, for up to six weeks, to get us through the roll out,” Superintendent Teri Shaw said.

During the August Committee of the Whole meeting, District 54 heard a presentation by Ted Lemmy with Unified Concepts, hired to do a technology audit for the district.

Unified Concepts offers Information Technology services to different school districts and Shaw said its references were impeccable.

The company would provide someone on-site at the schools two days a week, in addition to providing web-based help, a help desk and education for teachers who want to learn more about technology, including adding video to their teaching.

“In the end, we come in, go through what is going on and are able to cut from your IT cost more than what our fee is,” Lemmy said at the committee meeting. “The cost is about the same as one person, but you get a whole team.” 

Shaw said the previous IT director made $45,000 a year, plus benefits. The $66,880 contract would include all but the three extra days a week at the start of the year, which would come at an additional cost.

The board discussed Unified Concepts’ belief that about 80 percent of the district’s help desk issues could be handled remotely by the help desk team.

“It will be nice if they can do 80 percent of it and we don’t need anyone five days a week,” board member Carol Narvick said.

The district will choose which two days a week the technician is present at the schools, but once those days are chosen, they can’t change week-to-week. Added support days can be added as needed basis for an additional cost.

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