South Routt laptop discussion continues

School district forms committee to consider student computers

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— The South Routt School District is forming a committee to consider buying laptops for students, but the plan may move slower than South Routt School Board President Tim Corrigan would like.

At a special meeting Monday night to discuss budget reductions, the laptop project and the Education Fund Board, Superintendent Scott Mader said he doesn’t foresee the proposed project to issue an Apple laptop to every Soroco High School freshman beginning next school year.

Mader said he would like to set a specific goal to work toward, but he would first like to research two or more school districts that have similar programs in place.

“I would say we should probably get more information before we set that specific goal, and once you set a goal, it should be specific,” Mader told board members.

Corrigan said he will be disappointed if the program is not instituted by the beginning of the next school year, but he volunteered, along with fellow board member Joel Harris, to be on a committee to look into what it would take to start issuing laptops. The committee also will include District Technology Director Shane Antyr and two teachers.

The committee will look at future funding for the program, training needed for teachers and how other schools have used laptops in classrooms.

An anonymous donor, through the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, has offered $7,500 for the first year of the program. Mader said he hopes the donor would consider granting the gift even if the program doesn’t start in time for the 2010-11 school year.

The board also heard a letter from Roger Good, the Education Fund Board’s Technology and Capital Com­mission chairman, who suggested the board consider whether PCs or Apple computers would allow easier sharing of resources among Routt County’s three school districts.

Budget

Mader told the board that he has met with representatives from each school to discuss budget cuts in the coming year.

The district has projected it will have to cut more than $472,000 from the 2010-11 school year budget. Mader said he did not have any more updates from the state about future funding.

He said he had the representatives rate a series of items according to importance, then sent them back to talk to the staff in each school.

“I think they’re all aware of the situation that we’re in, and we all have to give something here,” he said.

He said he did not want to release the results from the discussion until the representatives had time to meet with other staff members.

Mader said the board should have a clear idea of the budget for the next year by March 18.

“Everybody’s going to pull together on this, and we’re going to get it done,” he said. “They’re not afraid to dig down and do some things we haven’t done (before) in this district or consider them.”

Personnel discussion

Mader and School Board members met for more than 90 minutes in executive session before the public portion of Monday’s meeting began. According to the board’s meeting agenda, the executive session was to discuss personnel issues “related to the superintendent and school administrators.” The board took no action after the discussion, and Mader declined to discuss the executive session because it related to personnel issues.

— To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

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