Oskaloosa School Board members listened and asked numerous questions of school technology director Shari Barnhart Tuesday night. Following about 70 minutes of questions and answers, the board approved a proposal for the 1 to 1 technology project.
The scope of the project includes replacement of 775 Macbooks at the high school and the purchase of 815 Dell 11-inch Chromebooks for the elementary. Also including in the project is the replacing of 230 teacher Macbooks with a 13-inch MacBook Air.
In her presentation, Barnhart explained that the pricing of the Dell Chromebooks at $199.38 and its ability to utilize the apps currently in use as a factor. Barnhart did say one application, Logger Probe, would have to be used using a “Citrex Solution” as well as some of the more robust apps. The Logger Probe is used in some deep thinking analyzation applications.
Board member Erik Edgren asked several questions about assurances the Citrex Solutions would work for those students when they are at home. He was also concerned about the strength of Internet connections to operate, especially those in the rural areas. Edgren lives southeast of Oskaloosa and sometimes rural connections are much more difficult. He is also concerned if the applications cannot be used offline.
Board member Carl Drost asked superintendent Russ Reiter if this purchase was moving the district forward to student achievement. Reiter said he was confident that it was putting the students in a position to be successful. Board member Kraig Van Hulzen agreed since the elementary students have not had computers for each student available in the third through fifth grades.
Following the discussion the board agreed to use no more than $615,000 and awarding the contract to HSI, Incorporated and related vendors for the project. Reiter and business manager Chad Vink said the funds for the project would come from the current 1-cent tax and the PPEL Fund.
The measure passed on a 5-1 vote with Edgren voting against.
Report from RD Keep