Board discusses plan for distributing iPads
After taking action last month to purchase Chromebook computer tablets and expand the One-to-One program to include seventh- and eighth-grade students next school year, the Woodford County Board of Education received an iPad distribution plan for next school year on Monday night. Bob Gibson, director of technology, updated board members on plans to distribute 990 iPads, which will not be used for the One-to-One program next school year. One example: 330 iPad Retinas would be used to create classroom sets for sixth-graders. Some of the 660 iPad Minis would be available for checkout at all school libraries, band/orchestra/chorus programs would receive iPad Minis for music applications, and elementary teachers would get iPad Minis to replace their iPad2s, which are becoming obsolete. Additionally, iPad Minis would be made available to elementary classrooms, adult education, special education and home/hospital. Board members were not asked to take action on an iPad distribution plan, but they will be asked next Monday to approve a rental fee of $60 and an insurance fee of $25 for students in the One-to-One program. Hawkins said both of those fees were reduced when compared to a year ago, but board Vice Chair Debby Edelen questioned the rationale for charging a $25 insurance fee when the district will end the school year with $30,000 or more in its fund to pay for computer tablet repairs. "We do need to make sure that we can cover the costs of repairs, but on the other hand," said Edelen, "we don't need to be sitting on $30,000." While acknowledging Edelen's concern and her desire to monitor the fund going forward, Gibson said at times that account gets hit heavily because devices are out of warranty. "If (the insurance fee amount) can be reduced," said schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins, "then obviously we'd certainly be open to doing that." HVAC projects The board approved a bid of $42,375 for a commissioning fee on the HVAC projects at Northside and Southside elementary schools. Required by law, the fee will pay Facility Commissioning Group to inspect the HVAC projects through completion, Hawkins said. The approved bid was the lowest of three bids, and $32,625 under budget, according to information provided to board members. At its regular meeting next Monday night, the board will be asked to approve two change orders for the Northside and Southside HVAC projects. One change order allows the district to purchase new ceiling tiles for the schools, which means saving sales tax dollars. The other change order will save the district $3,994 in its contract with Marrilla Design & Construction because the school system already had builders risk insurance - meaning the contractor did not need to purchase that coverage. Paving projects The board will be asked to approve a bid on paving projects at Southside Elementary School and its bus garage property. The lowest of three bids - $162,588 - was lower than an estimate, which saves the district $28,368. The projects will include paving the driveway entering Southside Elementary and an area of asphalt on the bus garage property where buses are not parked. Dual credit for students During his instructional update, Chief Academic Officer Jimmy Brehm said students at Woodford County High School will have opportunities to take dual-credit courses next school year without having to leave campus to earn college credits. A partnership with Morehead State University will specifically target students who are the first-generation in their families to attend college and students who don't think they can have success in college, he said. WCHS teachers, who have advanced degrees in their subject areas, will teach the dual-credit classes here "and (students will) see: I too can be successful at the college level," said Brehm. He said this new dual-credit initiative does not compete with other partnerships, including one that allows WCHS students to earn college credits on Georgetown College's campus. 'Academy for Teachers' Brehm told board members that the district will provide teachers with professional learning opportunities during the last week of July and the first week of August. "The Best Practices Academy for Teachers" will offer a variety of professional development opportunities based on feedback in the district's most recent TELL (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning) Survey, Brehm said. He said many professional development opportunities will be led by educators in the district, while other areas where teachers want to grow will require bringing in educators with a specific expertise. Financial report The district began March with a total cash balance of $12.382 million and ended the month with $12.219 million, according to Chief Operating Officer Amy Smith's financial report. A transfer of $17,631.41 from the building fund to the debt service fund allowed the district to make a bond payment.