School technology upgraded thanks to $1 million in grants

By Nancy Schaar

FPS Correspondent

Frank Cikach of Epiphany Management Group presented Carrollton Schools Board of Education members with the latest numbers regarding recent purchases and updating of technology equipment for all buildings in the district.

Cikach said $1,155,136  in Straight A grant funds have been used to purchase iPads, laptop’s, Apple TV’s, Chromeboxes, Chromebooks, printers, projection units, and carts, cases, cables, and other infrastructure materials to give students the latest advantages in technology for their classes.

Augusta elementary school is leading with a 2 to 1 ratio for their entire student body.  They have received 55 iPads and 30 Chromebox-Labs, and 20 HP Laptops.

Dellroy elementary students received 11 iPads and 30 Chromebooks.

Carrollton elementary students now have 99 iPads and 113 Chromebooks.

Bell-Herron middle school students will now have 34 HP laptops, and 73 Chromebooks.

Carrollton high school will now have 12 Chromebook carts, 30 Ipads, 300 Chromebooks, all 64 laptops.

All buildings received the switch infrastructure, servers, printers, and other equipment needed for the updated learning experiences.

“Carrollton high school students got the most this year because they had the least to start with.   Chromebooks are used the most throughout the state,” said Cikach.

Superintendent Dave Quattrochi explained at a previous meeting there were a few glitches a the beginning of the year with all student signing in at the start of a class period, and everyone trying to print at the end of the class, but with a couple of weeks of school behind them, most problems have been worked out.  One problem that is that students are receiving technology equipment, teachers are not.  Funding for computers for teachers is not available at this time.  Cikach said most teachers in the district are struggling to use computers that are 10 to 12 years old. They are working on a solution for the issue.

According to Director of Programs Ed Robinson, $435,725 has been spent for the initial power needed in all buildings to run the technology:  $648,675 has been spent, mostly for infrastructure.

Cikach said each Chromebook costs $249 and Chromebooks are better than iPads because they have keyboards.  In another matter, the board approved a resolution accepting the new scope, estimated basic project cost and local share in the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program.

Quattrochi explained the resolution will lock in the district for the current share offered by the state for construction of new buildings. “Next year the cost of construction will increase and the state share will go down.

This locks us in at the rates offered right now,” said Quattrochi. When questioned by Board Member Bonnie Little, Quattrochi explained the resolution does not dictate to the district what can be done with buildings no longer needed in the district.  Buildings can be kept, sold, or demolished.  No plans have been made by the board regarding the future of current school buildings.

The district plans on building a new K-12 building through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.  The local share has been pledged through Carroll County Energy (CCE).  The agreement between CCE and Carrollton schools will bring $1.3 million to the school district each year for the next 30 years. Regarding hiring the legal firm of Fisher & Phillips LLP to assist the district with such matters as labor, employment, human resource counsel, student matters, special education, litigation, real estate matters, and appearances before federal and state administrative agencies, the board agreed to the new contract after a lengthy dicussion. No details of the contract were available and board members admitted they had only received notice regarding the new contract about an hour before the board meeting.

Board member Eric Roberts asked that the matter be tabled so that members could look over the contract and seek the opinions of the treasurer and others experienced in the legal matters. Roberts objected to the contract stating the shcool has given up too much in the last couple of years in attorney fees. “We are by far over paying.  We are paying three times above any other district.  We have spent more than $100,000 more than other districts.  I would like to table this to get other opinions about these services,” said Roberts.

Quattrochi stated the board has been negotiating every year for three years.  There are the Straight A grant funds, the requirements for the CNG station, and more, according to Quattrochi. “All issues have been resolved.  If there is blame for using the attorneys, then it’s me!  But I have kept the district compliant,” said Quattrochi.

Board Member Wendy Gotschall said she appreciates Roberts point but said he has to look at the variables the district has dealt with.  Gotschall said she was concerned that, if the contract was not approved at the meeting, the district will face even higher fees for a new contract. “Nothing was frivolous,” said Gotschall.

“Past superintendents have had to deal with negotiations and have not used attorney’s,” replied Roberts.

The motion to approve the contract was put to a vote, and all board members voted in favor of the new contract with the exception of Roberts who voted no.

Tricia Green, director of Special Services, presented an update regarding the decrease in funding during the last three years for IDEA funding, Title One funding, Title 2A funding, and Early Childhood Special Education (preschool). Green said the decrease in federal entitlement grant funding has decreased a total of $170,937.

Fiscal Year entitlement funding for 2014 were $1,404,041; for 2015 $1,291,783; and for fiscal year 2016, $,233,104. IDEA Part B is money used for salaries and fringe benefits for four intervention specialists, one special education secretary and eight special education aides.

Title one funding is used on parental involvement activities, salaries and fringe benefits for classroom teachers and support staff in reading and math. Title 2A funds are used to pay for two classroom teachers, one for high school language arts and one for a math teacher for grades seven and eight. “It could be worse.  We’re just not getting more money from federal funds,” said Quattrochi.

In other business the board: – RECEIVED requestes to form Good News Clubs in Augusta and Carrollton elementary schools.  Participation in the weekly after school program is with parents’ permission only.  – ACCEPTED an agreement from St. John’s Villa for Carrollton High School’s autism unit through June 1, 2016. – AGREED to support BASA, OSBA, and OASBO in their legislative efforts to oppose State Issue 3 to legalize marijuana. – ACCEPTED the only bid submitted for HVAC repairs from Henry Heating and Cooling for a total of $46,015. – WILL accept the first reading of the new and revised NEOLA policies. – ACCEPTED the resignation of Julie A. Haas as a teacher in the district. – APPROVED the hiring of six substitute teachers, one secretary, and one classroom aide.

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