During last week’s regular meeting of the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees, the school board approved a budget amendment and expenditure of over $150,000 for the purchase of 1,350 Chromebooks and related carts. The purchase is part of BSISD’s 5-year technology plan that would help them to update security measures at BSISD campuses and have a set of Chromebooks or iPads for classrooms.
Instead of waiting for the new budget year to begin, administrators believed that it would be in the best of the district to make the purchase now so they could have those devices in the hands of the students as soon as possible. This would allow time to train teachers on programs such as Google Classroom and give students the opportunity to become more familiar with using the devices on a regular basis.
Plus, it would also ensure that if schools were to be closed again due to an unforeseen circumstance, the district would be able to supply students with a take-home device.
The approximate cost of $450,000 was taken from the General Fund Balance and, according to BSISD Jay McWilliams, the funds will be replaced after the 2020-2021 budget year begins on September 1, 2020.
The board also approved a budget amendment and expenditure of over $150,000 for a new wireless network at each elementary school. McWilliams told KBest News that Kindergarten - 2nd grade students will be using iPads in the classroom, and 3rd grade and up will be using Chromebooks during the next school year. The wifi upgrade at the schools would ensure that the bandwidth would be able to support the devices in use.
A resolution regarding class rank calculations for Big Spring High School students was also approved on Thursday by the BSISD Board of Trustees. The resolution states that although students would be receiving credit for work completed, their grade point averages would be calculated up through the 4th 6-week cycle.
According to McWilliams, GPAs are usually calculated using semester grades, but BSISD Superintendent Jay McWilliams advised that the district would not factor grades into the GPA for the 5th and 6th weeks cycles because the students were not actually in front of a teacher since March 6, 2020. McWilliams stated that it was the best solution they came up with to ensure that they created an even playing field for all students. During the meeting it was also stated that dual credit classes also would not factor into calculating GPAs. The resolution will only affect GPA calculations for the 2019-2020 school year.
The next regular meeting of the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees is scheduled for Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 5:15 PM.