2014-03-22 / News

All high school students to get laptops next year

By Charles Prince

BALTIMORE – Liberty Union-Thurston School Board members unanimously agreed March 10 to spend $315,000 to purchase 500 Intel Convertible Classmate PC laptops for next school year. The funds are from a bond issue approved by voters.

Each high school student will be assigned a personal laptop for in-school use at no cost. Students and their parents/guardian will be required to sign a loan agreement. Students will be responsible for the “full cost of repairs and/or replacement.” A “take home option” is available for $50 per school year. The fee offsets the district’s additional expense to limit access to the district’s computer resources. The computers must be returned if a student withdraws, is expelled or at the end of the school. The nearly three-page loan agreement details rules for use and the student’s responsibilities. For example, the laptops can not be used to access personal email accounts.

The loan agreement will be introduced to parents at a future parents meeting. “We want students to have it, use it and take it seriously,” Superintendent Paul Mathews explained.

In other business March 12, board members also unanimously approved spending $12,534 with United Landmark to install a propane fueling station for the district’s first propane-fueled bus. The 71-passenger school bus is expected to save the district some $47,000 over its life compared to a diesel-powered bus. The district is expecting to get 275,000 miles out of the new bus, compared to about 200,000 for a diesel-powered one.

Board members also accepted cook Melanie Keller’s resignation for retirement purposes, thanking her for her service. Assistant technology coordinator John Labelle was hired as district technology coordinator, replacing Linda Young who is retiring. Middle school teacher Natalie Brate’s request for a one-year leave of absence was approved. Eric Smolewski was approved as a volunteer assistant coach for high school track.

Aubrey Dunfee and Corey Flynn were recognized as the co-students of the month at the high school. Dunfee, daughter of Rose Witham, is a senior active in FFA, cross country and track. She recuited by Rio Grande College to run cross country and track.

Flynn, the son of Keith Flynn, is a senior active in track.

Board members have set three special meetings this month to discuss and interview superintendent candidates. Most of these meetings will be spent in executive or closed sessions.

The board’s next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, April 14, in the district office behind the elementary school.

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