New Albany-Plain Local school board members are looking to improve the district's Web technology, considering three action items during their June 22 meeting.

New Albany-Plain Local school board members are looking to improve the district's Web technology, considering three action items during their June 22 meeting.

The board voted 3-1 to approve a yearlong contract with Peirce Internet for routine Web maintenance and updates that could cost up to $16,800.

Kathleen Peirce of Peirce Internet has been working with the district on Web updates since December.

Member Mike Klein voted against the measure, and Peter Horvath was absent.

Klein said he is disappointed in the speed of the updates and site maintenance.

"In this information age where you can literally have information in someone's hand in a matter of seconds, can we do something better and do we need more resources?" he asked. "The easy answer to me, after the past few months, is yes, we do need more resources. It is no deep dark secret that communication is something I hold dear."

The board also tabled a motion to approve a contract with Peirce Internet to perform Website redesign and upgrade services.

Board member Mark Ryan said he wants a better understanding of administrators' plan for the future of the district's Web site before he votes on a 12-month contract that would cost up to $10,000.

"I can support spending more on this," he said. "I would like to know what the plan is. I am not sure of the overall plan."

Jon Stonebraker, a district technology teacher, said the district's Web site needs updated.

"I think the first person who would say that our Web page is currently inadequate is Kathleen Peirce," he said. "She is working within a very contained structure that doesn't allow the kind of updating that she would like to have, that we would like to have. Kathleen is a consummate professional."

Stonebraker said Peirce has been working with district communications director Jeff Warner on the new site, which, he said, should be completed by the beginning of 2010.

Ryan suggested that the board hear a presentation from Peirce and Warner about the future and logistics of the new Web site.

"I think I can get with approving the maintenance contract," Ryan said. "It seems that it is working to our satisfaction in that it is what it is. I think if we could have a presentation and an outline on communications and (teacher and student) portals, and if we had a budget that showed more of what the server cost is, I could be more supportive of that."

Superintendent Steve Castle said the board would have to find someone else to do Web work if it decided not to use Kathleen Peirce.

"As we transition from where we are today to where we want to be in the future, currently, Kathleen Peirce and Peirce Internet is the only resource we have to do that," he said. "Our two options, if we don't use Peirce Internet, is, we have to have someone doing the work. We currently don't have anyone internal to do that work. We would then have to hire another external consultant just to do the work she is doing today."

Board members also approved a resolution to expand the district's wireless network to all of the high school and link into the current network that covers the K-1 building, the 2-5 building and the middle school.

Stonebraker said the resolution was a continuation of action that the board had taken earlier this year.

The district will purchase the system from Xirrus Corp. for $77,456, according to the motion.

gmartineau@thisweeknews.com