HG School Board expands student computer use

by Steve Ottman
Review Correspondent

HOWARDS GROVE.The Howards Grove School Board approved the 1:1 Computer Initiative program for grades 5-8 and the high school Monday.

Board members unanimously approved the lease of 450 HP Chromebook computers with a three-year lease option and a $20 insurance cost per student for a one-time charge.

Middle school principal Andy Hansen, high school principal Scott Fritz, Superintendent Chris Peterson and Dave Richart presented the proposal to the board to expand the pilot program that started last winter with 50 computers and was termed very successful.

Hansen stated that the school would like to stay with the HP Chromebooks and add another 450 computers with the Google platform and Office packages.

The devices for grades 5-8 would stay at the school and the high school students would be al- lowed to take them home. There would be charging carts purchased to be used in the middle school and hardshell cases will be purchased for each device.

Expectations are still being finalized however, it is expected that agreements on the computers usage and care will be put in the parent’s and student’s handbooks to be distributed in the July meeting.

Richard felt that the school’s infrastructure is built to handle this after updates were installed following the last referendum.

He explained that a vendor will configure each device, creating an image for all of the devices and protecting the hard drive to always return to the same image for protection purposes.

Hansen said that there are two options to either purchase or lease these computers.

Peterson commented that a three-year lease option would be more cost effective than the purchase of 450 computers.

Peterson projected the costs of purchasing 450 computers at $90,000 versus a three-year lease broken down into $26,000 per year.

“This would be much cheaper and more effective because we can turn them back in at the end of the lease, whereas with buying them we are stuck with the computers,” said Peterson.

The $20 insurance option protects the student from accidental damage for a one-time occurrence and will be explained in the handbook.

Money for the computer program will be budgeted yearly.

New teacher contracts were approved for 2016-2017 school year by the board.

Jason Cole was hired as the new Northview principal. Natalie Brickner received a contract for new speech and language therapist position at Northview. Courtney Mashin received the first grade teacher position. Bethany Miller accepted a contract for fourth grade teacher. Nicole Engbretson received a contract for the new guidance counselor at Northview. Chelsea Galinski received a contract for a new high school agriculture teacher.

The Veterinary Science textbook was approved at a cost of $107.60 per book. Money is expected to be used from the Perkins grant.

The CESA 6 contract was approved at a cost of $2,080.

Peterson thanked the board and staff members for another successful school year and added that record $818,000 in scholarships were given this year.

Board President Mark DeAmico thanked outside organizations for donations.

A donation was received from the Kohl’s Cares Gran/Outsource America and Leaddog Marketing Group to be used to cover costs for field trips during the 2016-2017 school year.

Lakeshore Driftbusters donated money to the Howards Grove FFA.

Tom Heier donated money to the softball program.

The Howards Grove PTA donated the costs associated with the Breakfast and Books held at Northview.

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