The De Soto School District will pay more than $250,000 to improve the performance of the district's internet connectivity and technology.

De Soto School Board members voted 6-0 on March 5 to pay Provision Data Solutions of St. Louis $255,265 for the project.

The bulk of the bid was for equipment, cloud management, including recurring costs, and installation costs, totaling $250,656, according to board documents.

Provision Data Solutions must have the equipment installed by July 1, according to board documents.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, Superintendent Josh Isaacson said 70% of that cost will be reimbursed by the federal E-rate program, which aims to make internet connectivity and telecommunications services more affordable for schools and libraries. He said it would be done.

Isaacson said the board approved an additional $4,609, which is not eligible for electronic toll refunds, to replace the switchboard at the district's central office. He said E-fees cannot be refunded as there are no students in the central office.

“E-rate reimbursement for this project is $175,459.20,” Isaacson said, adding that the remaining $79,805.80 will come from the district's technology fund.

According to board documents, the project includes approximately 58 network switches and one network switch supporting 100 gigabit connectivity to the primary wide area network (WAN) circuit. Switches link different devices that are part of the same network.

Isaacson said the project will not only improve internet connectivity, but also improve performance when downloading and using technology.

“The district already has modern cabling in place, and (the new) switch will allow the district to (improve internet speeds),” he said.

The district received bids from two companies. The other was a Fortinet switch design by Heartland Business Systems priced at $242,052.99. Provision Data Solutions' bid was the highest, not the lowest, according to board documents.

“The overall design was determined to better meet the long-term needs of the district,” said Deanna Pope, the district's director of technology.

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