The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District may see improvements to its computer connections, following a unanimous vote from the school board Friday.
In a special called meeting Friday, the board approved a contractor agreement with Pileum for Ethernet switch and Access Point Combined. Two bids were approved, one for various district schools and one specifically for the Partnership School. The item was taken in a special called meeting due to the bid schedules not lining up with a regular school board meeting.
Four bids were received by the district from Pileum, SHOTS, UniStar Sparco and Synergetics. The lowest and best bid from Pileum was in the amount of $219,938.59. However, the bid is an E-Rate eligible bid, meaning the district will only pay 20 percent of the cost, or $43,987.72, if the bid is approved by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).
However, school board secretary Sumner Davis expressed some concerns about the bid prior to the vote, since Pileum was not the lowest bid, and was being selected in part because of an item not advertised on the initial bid.
“We didn’t advertise saying we wanted to match up with the Ethernet switches,” Davis said. “I get what you’re saying, and I want to get to where we’re on the same page, I just want to make sure we’re doing it correctly.”
Davis said the board couldn’t legally make judgments based off of past experiences with products unless specified in the bid. He asked if anything in the bid specifically referred to the access point.
Director of Technology David Hill said the bid did make reference to the point, but did not specify it matching up with current equipment.
“From what I put in the bid, under the first week, I did emphasize about the management portion of it as a key component of it, on both the switches and the access points,” Hill said.
The board approved the Pileum bid on the merit of it being able to communicate with the district’s existing infrastructure, fitting the designation of “lowest and best bid.”
“We got it for being the best, that it fits, particularly when it’s going to have to talk to the Ethernet switches,” Davis said. “We accepted that bid first. They talk to each other to integrate with each other.”