School board moves toward 1 device per student goal

NEW ULM — The District 88 Board of Education reviewed and voted on a variety of resolutions and action items Thursday, including the approval of a revised 2018-2019 school calendar and a $150,000 per year technology program recommendation.

To meet its goal of becoming a 1:1 student to device ratio district, the board voted 6-0, one absence, to approve the recommendation for the district’s entrance into a four-year lease agreement with Trinity-3, a tech vendor that provides computers and software systems to schools.

The lease provides for up to 1400 500e model flip tablet Chromebooks for students in grades five through 12 with an agreement to pay $150,000 per year to lease the devices.

The exact number of devices needed will be known when school enrollment numbers are finalized later this year, Superintendent Jeff Bertrang said.

Each Chromebook contains a multitude of cameras and applications that will be used for educational and instructional purposes at school and at home.

The lease includes a warranty for each device including setup and enrollment. Parents will also be offered a school district insurance program to support the program.

The board also voted 6-0, one absent, to approve a revised 2018-2019 school calendar that designates April 11 as a regular instruction day. New Ulm Public Schools cancelled classes April 11 due to inclement weather.

The decision came after the recommendation to use recent legislation such as the Snow Day Relief Act to meet the state statute designating school districts hold at least 165 instructional days each school year.

The legislation allows school districts to count days school cancelled for inclement weather toward instruction time required by state law.

Other action items and resolutions approved at the meeting:

• The board voted 5-0, one abstainer and one absent, for the resolution relating to the termination and non-renewal of the contacts of two probationary teachers in the district.

• Voted 6-0, one absent, to approve a resolution to extend the probationary status of one teacher.

• Voted 6-0, one absent, to approve summer project contractor recommendation for district school building projects.

• Awarded a health insurance bid to South Central Service Cooperative – Blue Cross/Shield of Minnesota.

The next regular school board study session is 5 p.m. Thursday, May 9, in the district conference room, and the next regular school board meeting is 6 p.m. Thursday, May 23, in the district boardroom at 414 S. Payne St.

Gage Cureton can be emailed at gcureton@nujournal.com.