School to invest $117,548 in new technology

By Vivian Sade

CHURUBUSCO — After some discussion and some reassurance from school administrators, the Smith-Green Community Schools board of directors voted to move forward with an $117,548 technology purchase.

The purchase includes 430 electronic tablets for high school students for $91,375 and 430 licenses for those tablets at $12,040. Also included are seven laptops, $7,982, a junior high study island, $2,007, two projectors, $3,495 and two whiteboards, $649.

Three of the four board members who were in attendance approved the purchase with Nick Uecker voting no.

Board member Dean Geiger said he had some concerns about purchasing so many tablets at once without knowing if the school had an adequate system to handle that many electronic devices.

David Uchtman, director of technology, said the corporation had upgraded last year and more than doubled the bandwidth.

“I am very confident we will not peak out,” he said.

The tablets will be given to students in one grade level at a time, starting with seniors, Uchtman said.

“We meet with the parents and students, put them on the system a week or week and a half while we work any bugs out of the system,” Uchtman said. “Once we make sure everything is fine and running well, we will move on to the next class. It is a very deliberate process,” he said.

Geiger also asked how students without a wireless or internet connection in their homes would utilize the tablets.

Uchtman said the public library is open two nights a week and students could also use the corporation’s system before and after school hours when the building is open.

The school will use a common school loan through the state with an interest rate of between 1 and 4 percent over a three-year replacement period.

In other business:

Scott Fudge will step down as principal of the elementary school this year and instead, teach at the kindergarten level. He has one year remaining on his administrative contract and will be paid his full administrative salary and benefits, Superintendent Galen Mast said.

Taking Fudge’s place as the new elementary principal will be Dan Hile, the current assistant principal at the high school. The two-year contract stipulates an annual salary of $73,440.

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