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HMS students to be issued laptop computers

Detention policy for cell phone violations changes

Staff writer

Hillsboro Middle School students will be issued laptop computers at the beginning of the 2010-11 school year.

USD 410 Board of Education voted Monday to purchase 140 Lenovo X100e laptop computers to equip every sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grader. The computers — along with a memory upgrade, carrying bag, and three-year warranty — will cost $79,478 from Twotrees Technologies, LLC, of Wichita.

The cost is slightly higher than expected because warranty costs have increased dramatically since the board created the laptop initiative at the high school in 2009. District business manager Jerry Hinerman speculated that Twotrees Technologies low-balled the district last year to help get the program started.

The district will add per-incident fees for computer repairs. Superintendent Steve Noble said districts that have fees to repair computers have not had as many computers damaged.

HMS Principal Greg Brown said sixth-graders will probably keep the computers at the school until they prove they are responsible enough to take them home at night.

Cell phone policy

Hillsboro High School Principal Max Heinrichs discussed proposed changes to the HHS handbook for 2010-11.

Students whose cell phones are taken away because of a violation will be required to serve their detention before receiving their phone back. Current policy requires a student serve detention for a cell phone violation, but they can receive their phone back before the detention.

Heinrichs said he has temporarily implemented the new policy, and every student has served detention on the same day of the violation, in order to get their phones back as quickly as possible.

The school also will implement an academic detention program to encourage students to turn in late assignments. Its intention is to prevent late assignments, rather than punish them, Heinrichs said.

Teachers to use online resource

Technology Excellence in Education Network Coordinator Brandi Hendrix demonstrated an online professional development system for teachers called PD 360.

The district will use the service to save money on professional development. Sending teachers to seminars is expensive because of registration, travel, and substitute teacher costs.

There are some logistical issues to work through, but Noble said the system should be beneficial for the district.

In other business:

  • Brown reviewed proposed changes to the HMS handbook. Changes include adding an academic eligibility requirement for sports and a reference to the district’s technology use policy.
  • Board member and Marion County Special Education Cooperative representative Debbie Geis said the cooperative has a candidate ready to hire to be the new director for a one-year contract. “I think we’re headed the right direction finally,” she said.
  • Outgoing instrumental music teacher Gregg Walker will purchase recording equipment for $2,070 for personal use. The equipment is about seven years old, and vocal music teacher Lynn Just has no plans to use it. Board member Rod Koons said he was skeptical of selling equipment to an outgoing employee, but the board voted unanimously to approve the sale after an eight-minute closed session to discuss personnel.
  • The district will sell a mezzanine in the parts warehouse at Midway Motors to the company when it moves to its new location. The district has no need for the mezzanine.
  • The Kansas Senate approved the House of Representatives plan for school funding, which will provide districts with $4,012 per pupil. That is good news, as long as the state decides on a funding source, Noble said.
  • The district is waiting to find out its new insurance rates, Hinerman said. He said he expects about a 15-percent increase. Between 2 and 4 percent of that increase is likely due to federal health care reform, he said.
  • The board will have a four-hour goal setting session, tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 18.

The next board meeting will be 7 p.m. June 14.

Last modified May 12, 2010

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