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BREAKING NEWS

USC Board sets levy at the max

By Staff | Sep 21, 2014

The United South Central School Board set their preliminary levy at their meeting last Tuesday night.

Superintendent Dr. Jerry Jensen reviewed some of the numbers with the board before recommending they set the preliminary levy at the maximum amount allowed.

“We can work out any adjustments from there,”?Jensen said.

He also advised the board about the new local optional revenue which gives school districts the option to levy the same amount so all schools could have the same opportunity to generate revenue from the tax base.

Jensen also brought up that the pupil weighting formula has changed for the upcoming levy.

They will look further into exact numbers and revisit them in December for their Truth in Taxation hearing.

But, those weren’t the only numbers the School Board looked at. They also took time to review costs for the new iLearn program.

Rita Vondracek, USC’s tech integration specialist,?gave an update in the program’s progress.

“We are currently spending time with the infrastructure work and device selection,”?Vondracek says.

She added that she has heard many things about the high schoolers receiving iPads to use, which have been taken into consideration during the device selection process.

“They are saying that laptops are still the number one choice for content creation,”?Vondracek said.

One of the main purposes of the iLearn, 1:1 technology program, was to prepare students for the next step in life. It was a general agreement among the teachers that using laptops rather than iPads or tablets would be the best way to do that.

“We recommend the change from iPads to MacBook Airs for grades 9-12,” Jensen said.

The school would participate in a lease-to-own agreement which is based on a three year lease. The devices would be $379 a piece for the iPads and $829 for the MacBook Airs.

The lease would cost $130,000 a year and would be budgeted by using $33,000 of a $100,000 donation from Bevcomm each year and $100,000 a year from the general fund.

“I think doing it this way would still be totally doable, even with the switch to MacBooks,” Jensen said.

The only cost not factored in yet is the initial expense of covers and protective cases for the devices.

“I’m totally in favor of the laptops,” board chair Kathy Kresbach said. “I have thought that from the very beginning.”

The board agreed and approved the switch to laptops. The school hopes to rollout the devices by the end of October.