I-SS board considering legal settlement to end dispute over sale of used MacBooks
BY KARISSA MILLER
The Iredell-Statesville Board of Education is considering a legal settlement to end a dispute over the sale of the district's MacBook laptops to California State Electronics.
“We have been engaged in conversations with Cal State,” Superintendent Brady Johnson told the school board earlier this week. “It then resulted in litigation.”
School board attorney Clark Tew explained that, under the terms of a tentative settlement agreement, California State Electronics would pay I-SS $300,000.
“We wouldn’t be bringing the settlement proposal to the board tonight if we didn’t think it was a fair settlement,” Tew said.
Last year, the I-SS board decided to sell all of the district’s old MacBook devices to Cal State Electronics for $3.7 million. They didn’t receive the full payment from the company.
According to school officials, Cal State Electronics claimed that there were three issues with computers I-SS sold to them. First, the company claimed that I-SS did not provide the agreed-upon number of computers. Second, some devices wouldn’t power on. Third, some of the devices were locked on to the school’s Firmware and couldn’t be unlocked.
School Board Chairman Martin Page asked Superintendent Brady Johnson to look into this situation some more.
The board will vote on it during their regular board meeting on Monday, May 13.
District facing budget shortfall
Iredell County Commissioners Gene Houpe and Jeff McNeely updated the board on a potential decrease in current expense budget funding for the school system following the countywide property reappraisal.
“The numbers put forth originally were given before the reevaluation,” McNeely explained.
The good news is the school system will still see an increase in funding to both the capital and current expense budget.
The bad news is the school board will need to engage in very difficult budget conversations in the coming weeks of how to reduce their expenditures to match their anticipated revenues.
The district is facing an approximately $3.1 million shortfall, due to the plan to decrease the school’s share from what was discussed in earlier budget talks.
Houpe pointed out one of the issues complicating the budget which is the failed ¼-cent sales tax referendum, which would have paid for increased school security and safety.
The school system and county will set aside a separate pot of money to fund some of these initiatives. As a result, I-SS will see a decline in county funding for capital projects.
Kenny Miller, assistant superintendent of facilities and planning, will also need to rework the capital budget since his budget was based on pre-revaluation figures.
CTE Local plan for 2019-2020 school year
The board reviewed the local 2019-2020 Career and Technical Education plan. CTE, offered for both middle and high school students, prepares students for jobs through technical education courses and helps students make career decisions.
Director of CTE Todd Williams recommended the following expenditures for the 2019-2020 school year:
• Equipment for technology, engineering and design courses.
• Purchase of supplies and materials to meet or exceed course learning objectives in all CTE program areas at all middle and high schools.
• Field trips for students in CTE classes.
• Various credential assessments for students.
• Classroom technology upgrades as needed, for example, smart TVs, projectors and computers.
Alternative School Accountability Model
Local public schools and charter school boards must determine the option of each alternative school in their jurisdiction for participation in the Alternative Schools’ Accountability Model.
Melanie Taylor, deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction, recommended the school board base its program on student progress. Factors include student persistence, student achievement and growth.
This model will be used at Pressly and the Discovery Program at the Springs.
“This will focus on the growth rather than the absolute proficiency for those schools. With the transient population, in the amount of time, this is really trying to focus on what they are doing with the students when they have them there,” Taylor said.
In Other Business
Also, during the meeting, the board reviewed the contracts of five churches requesting to use the school facilities. The churches include:
• Unitarian Univeralist Fellowship - Coddle Creek Elementary
• Common Cross Church - Lake Norman Elementary
• West UMC - Lake Norman High School
• Refuge Church - North Iredell Middle
• Collide Church - Union Grove Elementary
The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on May 13 at the Iredell County Government Center, 200 South Center Street, Statesville.