‘Tech talk’ for school trustees

180 more laptops purchased Monday

Monday was a “high tech” evening for Rockdale ISD trustees as the board okayed purchase of 180 Chromebook laptop computers for three campuses and approved a wiring upgrade for the district’s new, more sophisticated, phone system.

Meeting in regular monthly session in the Central Administration Building, the board approved an expenditure of $52,977 for the laptops, which will be used at the high school, junior-high and elementary campuses.

Pam K aufmann, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said about $19,000 of that sum will come from the state’s Instructional Material Allotment fund—which replaced textbook allotments as technology changed— with the remainder from the RISD general fund.

Chromebooks, manufactured by Samsung, are fast, highly-portable units specializing in access to educational apps and resources.

Kaufmann said the new laptops are not replacement computers and will be used in addition to units already owned by the RISD.

The communication drops (wiring) upgrade, also approved by board members, will complete the phone system upgrade, according to Marla Wallace, chief financial officer.

STILL ‘A WASH’—During the annal audit report by Dan Shaner of Atchley & Associates, board president Lee Jenkins expressed concern the report appeared to show a $262,000 deficit in regard to RISD’s acting as fiscal agent for the Burleson-Milam Special Services Co-Op.

“I thought that was supposed to be ‘a wash’ for the district, not costing us anything,” Jenkins said.

Wallace said the figure did not represent any loss for the RISD.

“Their (Burleson-Milam’s) assets, about $700,000 were also transferred to us,” she said. “Those assets are now about $500,000. So, it’s still ‘a wash’’ for the Rockdale ISD.”

Shaner said RISD’s totally clean audit report was “as good as it gets.”

In other business, trustees:

• Heard Supt. Dr. Howell Wright report the district’s drug-testing policy was successful, but he couldn’t discuss specifics due to confidentiality laws.

• Heard Dr. Wright note that when early retirement was removed from the equation, the RISD had a 90-percent teacher retention rate this school year.

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