Purchase would make teachers louder, clearer


MILLSTONE — The school district may spend $83,664 in federal stimulus money to install voice clarity systems at the primary and elementary schools.

Superintendent of Schools Mary Anne Donahue gave a presentation to the Board of Education Nov. 9 on how the district may spend American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) 2009 funding it applied for to pay for one-time purchases. The district is also considering using the funds to develop a self-contained autistic class at the primary school.

Donahue described the voice clarity systems, which are known as frequency modulated (FM) systems. She said the systems are made up of a wall-mounted speaker and a hands-free microphone/transmitter that teachers wear around their necks.

“It provides total clarity for the speaker without the background noise in the classroom,” Donahue said.

According to the presentation, FM systems make teachers’ voices clear and distinct, assist with auditory discrimination and reduce background noise distraction. Installing 42 FMsystems at the primary and elementary schools would cost $1,992 each for a total cost of $83,664.

The school district would only have to purchase four units to have every primary school classroom outfitted, as it used donations and grant money to install FM systems there years ago, according to Donahue.

The FM systems currently in use are called Front Row Pro Digital Systems. The units have a two-year maintenance guarantee. Donahue said the systems aid in the language development of all students, including special needs students.

“I know teachers find them beneficial,” she said. The school district may use the federal stimulus money to purchase 38 units for the elementary school.

The district would also like to purchase 34 voice clarity systems for the middle school, but plans to buy those with grant money from the PTO and the Millstone Township Foundation for Educational Excellence, according to Donahue. She said that if the school district gets reduced pricing for buying the units in bulk, it would start purchasing systems for the noisiest classrooms at the middle school.