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USC spending $244,000 on Chromebooks

It will largely be funded through the Esser Funds already received

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Feb 21, 2021

The United South Central School Board has two student representatives as members who attend board meetings. Although they do not vote, board members will seek their input on certain topics of discussion. This year’s student representatives are Lillian Neubauer, left, and Arianne Schaper, right.

The United South Central School Board took steps at their Feb. 16 meeting to upgrade the computers their students use.

Tech committee member Rita Vondracek gave a review of the bids which had been received from four different vendors.

“We are looking at purchasing Chrome tablets for the K-2 students and touchscreen Chromebooks for the 3-12 grade students,” Vondracek explained. “Our preferred choice for the Chromebook is the 500e model sold by Lenova.”

She explained the availability of the Lenova model could be a problem but devices made by Dell and Asus would also be good choices.

The board passed a motion to allow the purchase of 546 devices at a price not to exceed $244,000.

“This will largely be funded through the Esser Funds which the school has received,” board chair Dale Stevermer reminded those in attendance.

Elementary principal Nick Jurrens gave an update on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments testing in his report.

“The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) announced on Feb. 10, there will not be a remote option for MCA testing,” Jurrens said. “I am attending further webinars with MDE to find the best way to provide MCA testing for our distance learners.”

Jurrens also told the board the enrollment for students in K-6 grades is 359 students.

“We have 320 students in grades 7-12,” high school principal Julie Stauber told the board to begin her report.

She also said para evaluations were done at the end of January.

“Our para’s work is excellent,” Stauber commented. “They have been able to build a great rapport with the students and they communicate well with the teachers.”

She reported ACT prep courses were set for Feb. 20, for English and reading; and March 20, for science and math.

“The final announcement I wish to make is that Izzy O’Rourke is our Renaissance Student of the Month,” Stauber shared.

Superintendent Keith Fleming was next with his report and had some news on the vaccination of teachers and staff.

“Things have really picked up now that the state sends the vaccine to the county to be distributed,” Fleming said. “We have about 90 staff members who are or who will be vaccinated by the end of the week. Some have already had their second shot.”

Fleming also took time to thank the School Board and gave each board member a certificate in honor of School Board Appreciation week.

“I have been here five years,” Fleming said. “The board members have been great to work with.”

In other business:

• The board approved an extra service agreement with Doug Sahr to be the One Act Play director.

• The first reading was held for the 2021-22 academic calendar.

• Approval was given for the 2020-21 continuing contract teachers seniority list and the non-certified staff seniority list.