DEXTER — SAD 46 is developing a communitywide technology plan in an effort to qualify for state funding for computer equipment and high-speed access to the Internet and other on-line services.
Once produced, this plan will serve as a reference tool for future technology purchases by the schools, and for community development by the town, according to John Simko, Dexter Community Development director. Simko is working with the district on the plan.
A 10-person committee is taking inventory of the technology resources in the schools and community, and welcomes comments from the public regarding what technology services should be sought, Simko said. In coming months, an informational meeting will be held where public comment will be encouraged.
Members of the current technology committee attended a planning workshop in Ellsworth last week. Sponsored by the Maine Internet Education Consortium, the workshop drew more than 500 officials from schools and town governments across eastern Maine.
Thanks to a Public Utilities Commission decree, NYNEX will install a 56-kilobyte-per-second data line to schools and public libraries allowing access to the Internet and on-line services. The line will allow Internet access through a local call, ending the present toll call arrangement used by area schools.
Other technology beyond the Internet will be made available to schools soon, possibly including Asyynchronous Transmission Line hookups. The ATM line allows for much faster transfer of data between machines, improving the quality of Internet services and making interactive television possible.
Simko said that officials at the Maine Department of Education have stated that future funds, totaling as much as $91,000 per school, may be available for the purchase of computer technology for use with the ATM line, but that such funding would require schools to contract for the line, which could cost as much as $2,500 per month.
Funding for additional services and hardware options underscore the need for a long-range technology plan for the district, Simko said. Although the 56K line, which should be installed later this year to Dexter schools and the Abbott Memorial Library, will not be accessible to outside technology users, additional lines and services may be.
Guy Stickney, principal at Dexter Regional High School, is heading the technology committee, which is responsible for drawing up the technology plan. The 56K line hookup and any other services will not be made available until the plan is instituted, Simko said.
Comments regarding on-line and other technological services which are used or sought in Dexter should be directed to Stickney at the high school at 924-5536 or Simko, at the Dexter Community Development office, at 924-7351.