Aberdeen schools: A tablet for every Bobcat

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The days of strained necks and heavy backpacks may soon be in the past for Aberdeen students. The district approved the purchase of electronic tablets for AHS students at its meeting Tuesday night.

The additional tablets will mean every Aberdeen kid in grades 4-12 will have their own electronic device supplied by the district — iPods and iPads are already present at the elementary and junior high levels.

The school is looking at the Microsoft RT tablets at a price of about $250 apiece or half of the normal price of such tablets, but are still looking at bids from other qualified vendors until July 23.

It will cost the district about $240,000 to equip all students with tablets. The district has allocated $300,000 for technology related purchases, and also approved the purchase of new computers, likely laptops, for staff members who currently have equipment that is about seven years old.

The students will have their tablets for the entirety of their four years at Aberdeen High School and will be able to take them home. The hope is that for the majority of texts, physical books will no longer be needed and will be available electronically on the tablets.

The board also passed its completed 2013-14 budget with no additional changes since its last presentation.

About $20.7 million of the district’s nearly $37.4 million budget for the coming year is directly allocated to each of the district’s schools. The budget includes no layoffs and restores teacher and administrator pay to the level it was two years ago, before legislative cuts in the previous state budget.

One of the highlights of changes made after a late-coming state budget is full funding for all-day kindergarten at McDermoth Elementary School; previously they were only half-funded.

Salary levels will be increased by 1.9 percent for teachers and 3 percent for administrators, due to the Legislature’s changes. While some schools statewide used levy dollars to maintain salaries during those years, Aberdeen had reduced its salaries.

The district finished the 2012-13 year above its budgeted enrollment of 3,030 full-time equivalent students, but budgeted conservatively due to declining enrollment, keeping its estimate for the coming year at the same level as the last.

To view Aberdeen School District’s 2013-14 budget, visit the district website at www.asd5.org.

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