Morenci school board 2014.07.30

The Morenci Board of Education met in a special session Monday morning to award several bids for maintenance work and equipment funded through the bond issue approved by voters in May 2013.

Quality Asphalt was hired to pave the high school parking lot and the loop drive in front of the school at a cost of $147,000. An on-site construction manager, an outside firm to oversee the work and a company to test the composition of the asphalt was also hired.

"We're trying to eliminate any problems and get a quality job that will last a long time," explained superintendent Mike McAran.

Action was also taken to beat an Aug. 1 deadline to order 350 Acer Chromebook tablets, one for each student in grades seven through 12. Management system software and a warranty for each unit was also purchased for a total cost of $109,161. The state education department will pay the district between $50 and $75 for each tablet purchased as assistance in meeting the state requirement of online assessment testing starting in the 2015-16 school year.

Before online testing is required, school districts are invited to participate in an assessment field test this fall to test technology capabilities and to give students the opportunity to experience online testing in a "low-stakes situation."

Assessments will be give in kindergarten and grades one and two for language arts and mathematics, and in the upper grades for science and social studies.

The board also approved spending nearly $63,000 for infrastructure improvements to the three computer labs: 58 seats in the elementary school, 54 seats in the middle school and 54 seats in the high school. The high school lab will have wireless capabilities.

AmeriNet will be paid $11,273 to make sure wireless capabilities are intact in classrooms. Additional software will help prevent inappropriate use of the Chromebooks.

McAran said he has spoken with administrators from other districts to help Morenci create a policy for the use of the tablets.

Certain staff members will attend an in-service in August to learn about teaching with the Chromebooks and improving ACT scores through using the devices. An additional in-service day is scheduled in late September.