New Albany News

K-8 tech upgrades to cost $347K

By

New Albany-Plain Local Schools officials currently are reviewing best practices to determine how to best use technology in the schools.

The school board agreed July 22 to spend $347,000 to upgrade technology for classrooms from kindergarten to eighth grade.

The district will use $147,000 from the general fund and $200,000 from the permanent-improvements fund for the project.

Superintendent April Domine said the district will replace devices that are eight to 10 years old.

"We use and refurbish them for a long period of time before we reach these replacement thresholds," Domine said.

Treasurer Becky Jenkins said the school board next will be asked to approve funding for technology replacement for grades nine to 12.

Domine said the district's technology leaders, Jon Stonebraker, who is retiring in January, and new technology director Keith Pomeroy, are working on a technology plan.

They are completing an inventory of all machines and trying to determine what can be salvaged, district spokesman Patrick Gallaway said.

He said the district is determining the best ways to incorporate technology in the classrooms.

The district already has a "bring your own learning technology" program and Gallaway said teachers request specific technology carts when they need to use them in class.

"Students can use their own (devices) or choose something from the cart if the teacher asks them to do research on the web or use software to draw and design," Gallaway said.

He said the district wants to use technology as an "additional tool in the learning process."

Last school year, the district introduced 10 "blended learning" courses, which combine the traditional classroom setting with online learning. Those courses again will be offered this year, Gallaway said.

He said the district is trying to balance cost effectiveness while achieving the district's mission "to ensure the development of high-achieving, ethical, self-directed and intellectually curious citizens of the world."

The district is expected in the 2014-15 school year to pilot a state assessment program in which students take required standardized tests online. Gallaway said many Ohio school districts are piloting the program this school year.

"It's a more visual test, where the student may watch a video and then be required to answer some questions," he said.

In other business July 22, the school board:

* Approved a 2-percent salary increase for nonunion, classified and administrative employees.

Jenkins said the employees received a 1-percent increase last year and no increase the previous year.

Domine said the employees are not eligible for step increases.

* Approved a $5,000 increase to Jennifer Denny's salary and five additional vacation days. Denny is the elementary head of schools, supervising the K-1 building principal and two 2-5 building assistant principals.

Last year, Denny earned $106,590 in salary and the district paid $15,447 for her benefits. She has 20 days vacation.

She was promoted to head of schools in July 2012 and was supposed to receive the pay increase and extra vacation days at that time, Gallaway said.

* Approved an increase for breakfast and lunch prices.

The cost of breakfast for elementary and middle school students was increased from $1 to $1.25 and lunch prices were increased from $2.35 to $2.50 in the elementary schools and from $2.60 to $2.75 in the middle and high schools.

Comments