Technology issues discussed by SH?school board

JEWELL -It was a varied agenda facing members of the South Hamilton school board when they met for their regular monthly session Monday evening.

A visitor at the meeting was Tiffany Larson of Building Families, who made a brief presentation on Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. She works with school districts in Hamilton, Humboldt, and Wright counties and stressed that as a district “we do need to give all kids information.” Larson told the board that she is available as a resource for the school and is here in the community.

Lannie Schafroth, district technology director, was also at the meeting with information regarding school management software. After discussing his report, the board approved switching to Infinite Campus from the school’s current carrier, JMC.

Also discussed with Schafroth was replacement of student laptops that need updating. Currently, Apple laptops are used by the students. Schafroth presented information on new Apple laptops versus purchasing refurbished laptops from School Tech, which would save the district $260,000. In addition, Apple laptops have a four-year warranty, while those from School Tech have a lifetime warranty.

The board approved Schafroth’s plan to purchase laptops from School Tech. Some 400 laptops will be replaced, with the Apple laptops to go to the elementary.

South Hamilton will be the first school in Iowa to offer a business curriculum developed by Junior Achievement , starting this fall, according to middle school/high school principal Scott Dryer. Junior Achievement will cover the entire $10,000 cost of the program. Courses will include business finance and economics for success. Some of the classes, which will be offered in grades 7-9, will be taught by teachers and others by volunteers. Dryer said he is hopeful the JA program can be taken through grade 12 in the future.

In other business Monday evening, Dryer shared with the board information on curriculum developments for high school, including curriculum additions in science. No extra staff will be needed for the courses. The plan is not yet ready for Dryer to make a recommendation to the board.

Dryer also reported that he and Schafroth visited Webster City High School to look at WCTV, the television course offered by that school. South Hamilton has the equipment needed to offer the course and hopes to do that soon.

In his report to the board, elementary principal Paul Hemphill told the board that he is pleased with parent attendance at the recent parent-teacher conferences, as there were only three elementary parents who did not attend. The principal checked with parents regarding the schedule change for conferences, and found that 71 percent of parents responding were okay with holding conferences midway through the third quarter of the school year.

Another visitor at the meeting was transportation director Gene Greenfield, who reviewed with the board specifications for a new 65-passenger bus. They were approved as presented for the purchase of a new 65-passenger bus.

Also on Monday:

Superintendent Tim Johnson reviewed the FY 14 budget with the board, pointing out that the levy has dropped slightly to 13.92.

Board members Joely Swenson and Barb Anderson were appointed to a support staff salary committee.

The board set Monday, April 8, as the hearing date fo r the FY 14 budget.

Board members were informed by Johnson that the health insurance premium for the district will increase 7.25 percent for next year, which is the same amount as last year.