I-SS board to vote on $13 million technology refresh plan
BY KARISSA MILLER
Iredell-Statesville Schools’ technology task force hopes the school board will vote on Monday in favor of spending nearly $13 million on a device refresh for students.
The recommendation is to lease MacBooks for middle and high schoolers at a 1:1 ratio and iPads at a 1:2 ratio for elementary students.
The public meeting and vote will take place on Monday, Feb. 12, at the Iredell County Government Center, located at 200 S. Center Street in Statesville at 6 p.m.
If the proposal passes, the money to pay for the lease will come mostly out of the capital budget.
Capital funds pay for items that are considered to be one-time expenses, such as purchasing vehicles and technology. The funds cannot pay for things like teachers or salaries.
The refresh is a four-year lease, which would go into effect this school year, meaning the district would make its first payment this spring. Also, I-SS plans on selling the existing devices in bulk and will apply the sales proceeds to the cost.
The district’s technology task force gathered information, issued a pilot, studied polls and opinions and presented the data to the board over the span of nine months -- and is making the recommendation to go with Apple products. School board member Charles Kelly and Max James are also members of the technology task force.
“The team is excited that we will be able to get more devices at a lower per-device cost with greater support than with our previous leases,” said Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Melanie Taylor, who helped lead the task force.
The cost breakdown is as follows:
- The 2016-2017 per pupil allotment (federal, state, local and capital outlay dollars) was $8,569.25. The lease requires 1.8 percent of that for the technology refresh.
- That equates to $157.53 per child per year from this allotment.
- There are 176 student days in the school year, so the cost per student equates to $0.90 per day.
Devices would be rolled out during the 2018-2019 school year.
Also, during the Feb. 12 meeting, the board:
- Will vote on a recommendation to approve the 2018-19 student early college high school calendar. The first day of school is Aug. 7 and last day is May 23.
- Will discuss and vote on the 2018-2019 meeting dates.
- Will hear a number of first and second readings on several policies. These include student-staff relationships, drug-free workplace and other areas that are recommended changes from the state school board association. Many of these are updates in language or legal references.
Update from COW meeting:
Last week, Superintendent Brady Johnson brought forth the idea of implementing a year-round calendar, with the pilot beginning possibly in the 2019-2020 school year. The draft year-round calendar will allow the district to align with the collegiate calendar. Additionally, teachers would work around the same number of days. The board gave the okay to move forward with developing a proposed year-round calendar and plans to discuss the issue further. The calendar would have to be approved by the N.C. Board of Education to go into effect.