Thanks to a 7-0 vote moments ago by the Joplin R-8 Board of Education, 21st Century learning will include a Jumbotron (main gym video board), video walls in the commons area, and digital signage across both the new Joplin High School and Franklin Technical Center.
The package will be primarily paid for through a grant from the federal Economic Development Administration, which R-8 officials told the board had just approved the package earlier today.
Much of the more than $2 million (plus a $750,000 local match) will go toward all kinds of state-of-the-art audio and video that will be used by the Joplin High School television production class, or as board members and those watching at home found out tonight, it is not really a Joplin High School class; it has always been a Franklin Technical Center class.
That's a good thing since the EDA grant was specifically targeted for Franklin Tech.
The audio-visual package did not take up all of the money from the EDA grant and apparently not everyone got the message that the video production classes are and always have been Franklin Tech and not Joplin High School classes.
Where will the rest of the grant money go?
"The balance will go to Franklin Tech programs," the Franklin Tech rep, who had previously dutifully allowed technology director Klista Rader, who drew up the bid package, to do most of the talking.
Questions were asked by board members, something that has been infrequent during the C. J. Huff era.
Newly elected Debbie Fort questioned whether the package that was to be approved moments later by the board followed the original intent of the grant. She noted that there was nothing in this package for the adults who attend Franklin Tech and that she had thought that training for EMTs and nursing would be included.
"Some of it was taken out," Rader said. "Some of the things we wanted to do, they said no."
Fortunately, EDA had the foresight and vision not to say no to a Jumbotron (main gym video board).