District 15 board members considers purchasing iPads

by Tammy Sakry
Staff Writer

Some of the new board members are having problems downloading the St. Francis School District 15 documents they need to make their decisions and they want the board to consider purchasing either iPads or Netbooks for them.

It would easier for the board if everyone was on the same technology level, said Boardmember Matt Rustad at the Feb. 13 meeting.

It would improve communication and eliminate miscommunication, he said.

With two children in college, Boardmember Janet Glover said she is working on a dinosaur of a computer.

The last computer upgrade was done on her child’s computer for college, she said.

“I can’t afford a new one. And I don’t always have Internet,” Glover said.

While she has a computer, Boardmember Suzanne Erkel said she cannot open many of the district documents or the videos.

Her computer caught a bad virus and now she has the very basics, she said.

An iPad would be something that would come in handy during teacher interviews, Erkel said.

To purchase an iPad or Netbook for each of the seven board members would cost between $2,733 to $4,956, which does not include accessories, like cases, or the data plan, said Superintendent Ed Saxton.

The board would have figure out how to pay for them as there are no technology funds in the board budget, he said.

When board members run for this part-time position, there is an expectation they would have to acclimate to the district’s processes, including having the compatible technology, according to Human Resources Director David Lindberg.

The district could look into purchasing the equipment and doing payroll deductions, which would ease taxpayers’ minds about the district fronting for a piece of technology for board members, Lindberg said.

Boardmember Amy Kelly said she has no interest in purchasing iPads or Netbooks for the board.

“I am surprised Mr. Rustad asked for this when he ran on cutting (expenses),” she said.

“I would rather see seven more iPads in the classrooms. I am not interested in spending money on iPads (to be used) for two (board) meetings a month.”

Although the board did not vote to purchase iPads, it did request on a 4-3 vote to see the board budget, which organizational dues it pays and a printed estimate for the purchase of iPads and Netbooks. Boardmembers David Anderson, Harry Grams and Kelly voted no.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]

  • Dana

    Way to go AMY, DAVE and HARRY for voting No and again for looking out for the kids! Last I checked St Francis has a Library with free computers and internet. Why would it be so hard to go there? How many more problems can occur with these board members? Wake up COMMUNITY! WAKE UP BOARD! Everything will continue to go down hill if things are not going to be in the best interest of the KIDS of ISD 15.

  • Jerry Jorgensen

    Way to go Dave, Harry, and Amy. This is not what the board is supposed to be doing. The board is there for the kids best interest. This is out of hand.I vote NO! to the Ipads.

  • Lori Ghassemlou

    Do not waste taxpayer dollars to purchase iPads for board members. Thank you to those board members who did not agree to such an expenditure. I seriously have a hard time believing that a board member could not afford to even purchase a laptop. The prices have really come down on them. One could always buy a refurbished laptop also for much less.

  • Tom

    I was unable to determine if ISD 15 pays its school board members. I think there is a mention of payroll deductions, but no specific amount, and I could not find it on the ISD 15 website.

    However, I do believe that if technolgy was needed, a board member could use part of that stipend to purchase equipment. Just today I saw a tablet at Best Buy for $149. I bet it would have no problems playing any videos or opening any documents the district provides. You could outfit the board for much less than the several thousands of dollars quoted.

    I attended another school district’s board meeting and it appeared that each board member had brought their own laptop.

    I would agree though…Kids First!

  • baffled in bethel

    We are cutting school programs each year because of our tight budget. We have no art dept. in the elementary schools, one art class per student in middle school,.. our gifted and talented kids are being used as free teaching assistants and tutors – that is their ” special ed” to keep them engaged, we have an extremely lackluster curriculum, which is why we can’t keep students in our district…After school activities are limited to kids who have transportation because their are no busses to bring kids without it home. Most of the classrooms do not have the updated technology these new members desire and this is the clientale they are supposed to be serving!

    Now we need to buy technology for our school board members? Use the library! It’s still free! The new members ran on having new innovations and planning, appparently that included tthe small print of “paying me first, kids second”? What a disservice to the district and students…

  • Ellen

    Did you know that ISD 15 has a budget of nearly $63,000/year for it’s school board? Part of that is salaries…but what is the rest for?

    However,one thing that needs to be considered is that the board members still receive information via snail mail…packets that cost money to mail, plus copying expenses (including an employee’s time to copy, collate and stuff envelopes); updates need to be mailed also. It would be interesting to see if the costs of some sort of technology (yes, I agree you can get a serviceable device for far less than was quoted) would offset the costs of copying/paper/postage, etc.
    At least they are keeping the postal service in business!