This is one piece of a larger technology upgrade program that was proposed last year. While the Board of Education could not fund the whole package as originally proposed, these computers were figured into last year's $55 million school bond, said School Business Administrator Clifford Doll.
The approval, according to Schools Superintendent Dr. Patricia McGeehan, will complete the task of having an internet-accessible computer in every elementary class room, and will fill in those areas at the high school were such computers were previously needed.
The Apple computers are being acquired under a state purchasing contract and the lease purchase plan will have zero interest in financing.
Doll said the district will save money from the bond by not paying interest, as well as the significantly lower cost per computer. Under this plan, the district is basically getting four computers at the price of three, he said. The district will pay $181,032.33 per year for three years.
Bayonne High School, under this plan, will get 35 computers. This will include filling in spaces for labs and other areas, including supplemental computers for the video production. The contract also acquires more than 507 computers to be distributed throughout the elementary schools.
You can have a cell phone, but you can't us it
The board of education voted to revise policies, updating one policy to meet the current standards of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and changing a policy regarding students' possession of cellular telephones and beepers.
McGeehan said the old policy prohibited students from carrying either while in school. The new policy bans their use in the schools.
McGeehan said the use of either can be a distraction. The new policy says publics are not permitted to use these devices on any school district property during regular schools days, and allows each building principals or a designee to take appropriate disciplinary actions if the policy is violated.
The board also awarded a contract to RoboMedia, Inc. was awarded not to exceed $5,000 to provide drug and alcohol awareness presentations to young children throughout the district. These lessons include teaching students how to avoid risks that exist in their environment, including drugs.
"Rather than dwelling on detailed information about every drug, the lessons show children why they should avoid using any drug at any time," the program material said. "A detailed understanding of medicine as a healing tool used by trained professionals is also included. This section concludes by exploring social and family problems caused by drugs and how children can deal with these situations."
At the same meeting the board also accepted a corporate grant for $84,026 to provide Life skills Training for public and private schools to provide a program related to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Ace grant for the second year
To continue its program for providing computer assistance to students and family members at the Midtown Community School, the board accepted an Ace Grant from the state Department of Education for $100,000 for a period from Aug.1 2004 to July 31, 2005.
Last year, the school district received at $200,000 grant for its Access Collaboration and Equity (ACE) Resource Center from the New Jersey Office of Educational Technology.
The ACE grant program is designed to provide technology resources in public locations such as libraries, community centers, housing complexes or in school-based locations with extended hours. The purpose of the grant is to increase student achievement of the Core Curriculum Content Standards and family involvement in their children's education with the provision of staff-supported "off-hour" access to additional educational opportunities through technology. Local projects funded through the ACE grant program develop and deliver programs that help to close the "digital divide" between those who have access to technology and those who do not.
Dr. Ellen M. O'Connor, assistant superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction said the facilities are well used, and it is common to find 25 to 30 people in there at any given time, even over the summer. McGeehan said parents are also involved.
McGeehan said the district will apply for Governor's school of excellence grant program from the state Department of Education for the Mary J. Donohue School and the Midtown Community School.
The Governor Jim McGreevey established the distinguished program in 2002 to honor schools that are demonstrating effective practices to prepare their students for the future. Schools can win the honor by achieving five of the following:
* Meaningful improvement in parental involvement in school matters.
* Improvement in student attendance, graduation rates, retention rates, and/or dropout reduction.
* Reduction in violence and vandalism.
* Creative and increased involvement with partnerships and/or the community.
* Creative and increased use of technology as a tool for learning.
* Demonstrated improvement in the quality of professional development of teachers.
* Demonstrated success in providing better learning opportunities for specialized populations such as special education students or second language learners.
The Governor's School of Excellence program provides awards to schools that demonstrate significant improvement during a two-year period. The schools can use the funds for educational purposes they decide.
"With the awards these schools received this year and the high test scores the students achieve, we think the schools be eligible," O'Connor said.