Mehlville OKs contract with network provider

By Kari Williams

The Mehlville Board of Education last week approved a five-year contract with Charter Communications that saves the district more than $100,000 per year.

The contract allows for 6-gigabit service to the Administration Data Center and 14 sites at 1-gigabit service, including Jefferson Barracks, for $129,000 per year.

Charter has been the district’s network provider for 10 years, and the company owns the fiber that runs through the district.

Superintendent Eric Knost said the Charter contract is an opportunity to improve services and save district funds.

Knost also said other companies told district officials they would not submit bids because they “couldn’t touch the price.”

“Additionally, we stand to have a significant decrease in price with Charter because they have now recouped their expenses …,” he said. “(The board) agreed to have us negotiate with Charter for an extended contract, and we also decided to talk with them about, while we’re saving a significant amount of money, we talked to Charter about improving our services …”

Knost said the district’s 10-year contract with Charter is coming to a close, and it did not make much sense to spend district money to seek bids from other companies, partly because other companies would not touch the Charter-owned fiber running through the district.

Director of Information Technology Services Steven Lee said the agreement will continue service in most district buildings at the same rate it has been and increases two bottleneck points, the Jefferson Barracks building and the data coming to the Administration Data Center from 14 buildings.