Archive for Thursday, September 13, 2007

District takes technology bite out of Apple

September 13, 2007

Improving technology has been a goal of Supt. Paul Dorathy's and the Baldwin School Board and they took one step to achieve that goal Monday night.

With a unanimous vote, the school board approved a lease with Apple Computers that will provide the district with 32 projectors, 69 laptops, 33 desktop computers and a server upgrade. The lease will cost $151,025.70, but will have 0 percent interest.

"This was one step toward trying to meet out goals and the plan that was presented to the board in June," Dorathy said. "We have a lot of technology needs in the district and this will help."

Cyndi Frick, director of financial operations, brought the lease to the table Monday night. She said Steve Hemphill, technology support director, talked to Apple to work out the lease agreement.

Hemphill said the lease will provide the district with102 computers and 32 projectors right away, instead of purchasing a few each year. He felt the lease was beneficial for that reason.

"One of the things we have trouble with is if we buy a few each year, which gives us different models each year," Hemphill said. "This will give us the same model of computers across the district."

The lease will be paid off during the next three years with each payment due in January of that year. The payment schedule and the 0 percent interest helped make the deal easy for the school board to approve.

"I think it was a good deal, because we will pay for it out of our capital outlay budget," Dorathy said. "We have worked with the Apple Company to allow us to make our payments in January after we receive the tax money, rather than in August. It's 0 percent interest, so we really can't miss on it. Our students and staff will benefit from all of that technology up front."

Dorathy also said the server upgrade will help improve the district's server, especially with the PowerSchool program that parents use.

The Apple lease was only part of the Capital Outlay discussion Monday night. Frick also presented the board with a three-year draft of Capital Outlay expenditures.

Dorathy has been talking to district administrators about projects that need to be taken care of. The draft on Monday had a three-year plan, which he felt was much needed.

"We've tried to project out and make a cycle of expenditures that we feel need to happen for different areas, such as maintenance, technology and transportation," Dorathy said. "We've got many needs in the district and we need to get them on a rotation basis. We've fit as many things as we could in our budget over the next three years. It will not meet all of the needs."

The list covered many areas of the district that need improvements, including rooftops, technology and transportation. The topic of buses came up at the meeting and Dorathy said the district must continue to replace its older buses.

"I'm really concerned about our buses," Dorathy said. "If we don't get into a rotation quickly, we are going to be hit really hard with a lot of buses that we need to replace."

Some of the problems on the Capital Outlay budget might be addressed with the facilities committee and bond issue. Dorathy said the budget could change because of that, but they wanted to create a plan for what the district needs now.

"We tried to deal with what needs to happen within the budget as we stand right now," Dorathy said. "The facilities committee will make some decision and suggestions, then we might adjust the budget. Right now we made the budget based on here we are, what do we do."

At Monday's meeting, two Baldwin High School students made a presentation to the board about making the Fellowship of Christian Athletes an official club at Baldwin High School. Dorathy said the board will review the information and make a decision next month.

"We will take the information they brought to us and we'll try to answer some questions over the next month," Dorathy said. "We will bring it back in October for the board to make a final decision."

The school board will also be setting up public meetings at the elementary schools to discuss the attendance boundary lines. No times or dates have been scheduled yet.

After executive session the school board approved the personnel report. It included the resignation of Josh Kohn (BHS assistant wrestling coach), Kyle Flory (BHS assistant wrestling coach), Josiah Mason (Baldwin Junior High School assistant wrestling coach), Jennifer Stewart (BESPC para educator) and Carol Niehues (BHS food service).

The hirings included:

Rachael Buckley (BHS Assistant Musical), Katherine Cook (BHS Assistant Musical), Jana Jorn (BHS Musical Accompanist), Katherine Cook (BHS Building Chairperson), Michelle Kirk (BHS Target Area Chairperson), Kathleen Sigvaldson (BHS Target Area Chairperson), Jim Hartman (BHS Target Area Chairperson), Teresa Hiatt (BESPC Target Area Chairperson), Katherine Allan (BHS/BJHS District Accompanist), Vida Morgan (Marion Springs Elementary School Certified Para educator), Carrie Jamison (MSES 4-yr old Part-time Para educator) and Juli O'Mealey-Hossain (BHS Junior Class Sponsor).

The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at the District Office.

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