Technology offer could be boon for local schools
An offer from technology giant Cisco Systems could be a boon to the Marshall School District.
The Marshall Board of Education voted Tuesday during its regular monthly meeting to accept the offer, which will provide technology planning and staff training to the district.
Bill Michael, district technology coordinator, said Cisco approached only 24 schools in the United States. Marshall and the Columbia public schools were the only districts selected in Missouri.
Michael said Marshall was chosen in part because of the city's infrastructure, namely Marshall Municipal Utilities' fiber optic loop. He said the district is in discussions with MMU to use strands of the line and, while in its early stages, the plan looks feasible.
"It does look like something that's a doable-type deal," Michael said.
Under the provisions of the Cisco agreement, the company will supply a team of experts to develop a plan for implementing educational technology in Marshall. In addition, the company's financial experts will explore funding options to finance the plan.
Michael said the district stands to benefit from Cisco's position in the global marketplace.
"They're a very large international corporation," he said, adding Cisco has partnerships with Microsoft, IBM and SBC.
Michael said while the initial groundwork will be done at no cost to the district, Cisco is very upfront that it wants to sell its products. However, the district will be under no obligation to spend money by taking part.
"They're planting the seeds for future business. That's good business," said board President Jeff Stubblefield. "But if we're going to be one of 24 showcases in the country, they're going to make damn sure it works and works every time."
Expressing her support, board member Kathy Green said since the plan was something the district was going to need anyway, it should take advantage of having assistance from experts in the field.
The board voted without dissent to take part in the program.