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Oskaloosa School Board Passes Technology Proposal

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

Oskaloosa School Board Approvals

Oskaloosa school board members approved the certified budget for the 2015-16 school year at their meeting Monday night. Superintendent Russ Reiter said the legislature is still a long way from establishing a percentage of supplemental funding, but it is looking at zero dollars. The House has offered 1.25 percent while the Senate has offered 4 percent. The Senate offered another compromise of around 2 percent, but the House remains at 1.25. If the legislature is unable to come to an agreement the supplemental funding automatically goes to zero. After the public hearing, the board made the approval.

With that approval the district will have a budget of $31.588 million. Board financial manager Chad Vink said the budget published in the papers had a levy rate of $15.3172 per $1,000 in valuation and was based on 4 percent from the state. He said that if the state comes in at a lower rate the state auditor would make the adjustment automatically. The board voted for approval of the budget.

Board members approved a school calendar with a start date on Tuesday August 25. Teachers will have five days of in-service beginning on August 18. Students will have one-hour early outs the first two days. Most Wednesdays will be one-hour early outs for professional development. Fall parent teacher conferences will be October 15-16.
A 90-minute early out will be held on December 23. Winter break will be from December 24-January 4. In March, March 10 and 11 will be a three-hour early out for elementary parent-teacher conferences and professional development at the secondary schools. Monday and Tuesday March 14-15 will be vacation days for students and staff. High school conferences will be held April 7-8. Graduation will be held May 15 and the last day for students will be May 20.

Board members approved the resignations of Liz Foster as middle school science teacher and Noel Hoover, high school special education instructor. The approved the hiring of Jacey White as high school business teacher. White will have a one-year contract at $34,165.

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