School board ponders replacement of aging iPads

Obtaining new iPads for elementary schools was a main topic of discussion during the Huntington County Community School Corporation Board of School Trustees at its regular meeting Monday, April 10.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Chad Daugherty said the four-year lease of 2,510 student iPads would cost the district about $1 million through Apple.

The lease of an additional 230 iPads for teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade would cost an additional $200,000. OtterBox iPad covers/cases worth $35 each would also be included in the lease, Daugherty said.

At the secondary level, four sets of 30 iPads would be available for checkout by classrooms using iPads for school instruction such as music, physical education or videos. About 20 extra iPads would also be available for middle school classes.

Board Member Reed Christiansen questioned footing the cost of extra units versus using paper for projects such as music scores for band and choir.

“I don’t know that that cost is going to equal out or provide enough benefit to have an electronic for that,” he said. “I’m not sure that, for me, that’s a compelling enough reason to see that. I understand some of the use in PE, but I also wonder the necessity of that.”

HCCSC Director of Technology Tom Ashley told the board that the iPads the district currently has are in their fifth year of use and can no longer be upgraded to keep up with software upgrades. He added that the battery life of the units has also become an issue.

The board will have an opportunity to vote on the lease at its next regular meeting on April 24.

In other business, the board approved 6-0 the vocational cosmetology agreement with Creations Beauty School for the school years 2017-2019. Board Member Tim Allen was absent.

Superintendent Randy Harris recommended approval of the contract, which would pay Creations Beauty School $2,950 per year for each student enrolled in the two-year program.

“In the past, the school district has struggled a little bit with it, but we’re now completing our second year with them,” he said, “and by all indications this has been great for the students and for the school district.”

On another matter, in a unanimous vote, the board appointed Laura Dillon as its representative to the Andrews-Dallas Township Public Library board.

Bids have been received on repairing the roof at Riverview Middle School. Board member Kevin Yarger noted the bids came in lower than expected. Harris said architects are looking over the bids and he expects to make a recommendation to the board for a vote at the April 24 meeting, with work to be done over the summer.

The board also called another work meeting for Monday, April 17, at 7 p.m. at the Horace Mann Education Center. The public will be invited to attend to observe board members discussing current issues affecting the corporation. Much of that discussion will be concentrated on action following the district audit report, which was presented March 20.

Harris said he received no emails or feedback from the last public work session, which was held on March 27. However, a demographics study ordered by the board should be available for presentation at the board’s May 8 meeting, he added.