School board approves Chromebooks for almost every class, saves $500K

Costs in the Salem-Keizer Public Schools computer rotation budget are about to be reduced by $500,000.

The School Board voted Tuesday to enter a lease agreement to acquire Google Chromebooks for nearly all the classrooms in the district. The district is in the last year of a five-year rotation plan for the replacement of about 3,500 personal computers.

A Google Chromebook, which would provide only educational materials rather than the far greater variety of information available from a PC, would cost $167, compared to the more than $1,000 for a computer.

The board also accepted grants totaling far more than they do in most months. The largest, $3,036,394 from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), is a continuation grant for the Head Start Oregon Prekindergarten Program.

Two other grants, each $2.5 million from the Oregon Business Development Department, are for seismic strengthening of buildings. One is for Building B at McNary High School, and the other is for the gymnasium at South Salem High School.

Additional grants from ODE are $491,159 for career and technical programs, $275,758 for a summer school program for migrant students and $222,800 for staffing at schools for court-adjudicated students who have academic and behavioral deficiencies.

Grants from the Oregon Department of Human Services are $970,834 for the Youth Transition Program, which helps students with disabilities; $45,392 for summer work for disabled students and $30,000 for middle school health education.

The remaining grant is $20,000 for Oregon Parenting Education Collaboration.

Action on a memorandum of agreement to create a development council for a continuum of care focusing on homelessness was postponed to the board’s Sept. 10 meeting. The continuum of care, which would serve Marion and Polk counties, would be necessary for the council to receive funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The reason for the postponement is that the cities of Salem and Silverton have withdrawn from the memorandum, and the board wants to study the matter further.

Personnel actions approved by the board include the following in the McNary attendance area:

• Temporary part-time teaching contracts: Charles Kuebris, McNary.

• Temporary full-time: Amy Morris, Keizer and Forest Ridge elementary schools.

• First-year probation full-time: Claire Baylor, Weddle Elementary School; David Dittman and Jillian Fiero, Claggett Creek Middle School; Ashley Gruber, McNary; Katherine Mills and Martha Specht, Cummings Elementary School.

• Second-year probation full-time: Jose Bautista and Nancy Martinez, Keizer Elementary; and Courtney Minyard, Weddle.

• Resignations: Sara Likkel and Rachel Martin, Weddle; Noah Miles, Whiteaker Middle School; and Stephanie Montgomery, Cummings.