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Colfax school board eliminates Chromebook fees for this year

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  Colfax High School students will not have to pay a Chromebook technology fee this year.

William C. Yingst Jr., superintendent, told the Colfax Board of Education at the August 20 meeting he was recommending the Chromebook fees be eliminated.

The school board can review whether to charge a technology fee again next year, he said.

As part of the $7.2 million referendum approved by voters in November of 2016, the Colfax school district started purchasing Chromebooks so every student would eventually have a laptop computer.

“We’ve been moving to get to a 1:1 initiative since last year,” Yingst said.

According to the district’s Chromebook policy, the technology fee is $40 per year, although students who qualify for free or reduced lunch pay $20 per year. Families with three or more students pay a maximum of $100 per year, or $50 per year for families that qualify for free or reduced lunch. Students receive the same Chromebook each year.

When the rental fee was implemented last year, middle school and high school students were not required to have Chromebooks, Yingst said, noting the Chromebooks worked out so well, teachers would like all students to have a Chromebook.

The fee was intended to help the students be accountable for taking care of their Chromebooks, Yingst said.

As it turned out, the Chromebooks only had minor issues, said John Dachel, high school principal.

Since the Chromebooks will be required for all students, it makes sense to eliminate the rental fees, Yingst said.

According to the school district policy, “Students will be held responsible for ALL damage done to their Chromebook not covered by warranty, including but not limited to: broken screens, cracked pieces, (and) inoperability.”

The Chromebooks will have to be replaced at some point, and Yingst said he has been trying to “buy ahead” and figure out a rotation.

The school district must buy textbooks; “Chromebooks are the same thing” and fill a role as important as textbooks, said Ken Bjork, school board member.

The Chromebooks will probably have to be replaced every three to five years, Yingst noted.

The Colfax Board of Education unanimously approved a motion to change the Chromebook policy to wipe out the fees for this year for high school students.

The school board will review the Chromebook fees again next year.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Board of Education:

• Learned that the state Department of Public Instruction’s estimated rates for open enrollment for regular education are $7,372 per child and $12,424 per child for special education.

• Learned the exempt computer aid for 2018 was $230.34.

• Accepted the resignation of Andrea Brunn, special education early childhood teacher.

• Accepted the resignation of Mark Mosey, Science Olympiad advisor. According to a letter dated July 19, Mosey has been the Science Olympiad advisor for five years and would like to devote more of his time to developing additional activities for Colfax Science Club members. The Board of Education approved hiring Corey Adams, Colfax high school science teacher, as the Science Olympiad advisor to replace Mosey.

• Approved Tiffany Schaffner, the new agriculture teacher, to teach the Vet Science program. Students can earn science credits for the class, and Schaffner is certified and willing to teach it, Yingst said. The class has had two sections every year, was previously taught by John Nelson, and is a popular class, Dachel said.

• Reviewed the Board of Education Operation Principles pamphlet and approved several changes to emphasize that when residents make public comments during school board meetings, the school board cannot take any action on suggestions because the items are not part of the meeting agenda for that meeting. One section of the pamphlet states, “Residents are to be advised that topics/issues brought to the Board of Education during the Communications & Visitors section cannot be legally acted upon by the Board. The Board of Education can only act upon those items specifically identified on their posted agenda.” Christie Hill, school board member, pointed out it is important for school district residents to know the school board will not take immediate action on items brought up during the communications portion of a meeting, and may, in fact, not take any action on items brought up during communications portion of the meeting.

• Approved the addition of the student activity account for the Class of 2022. Adding an account for the incoming freshman class to Fund 60 has been suggested by the school district’s financial auditors.

• Approved for a first reading policy updates suggested by Neola (formerly known as North East Ohio Learning Associates), an educational consulting firm. The policies included the early college credit program, job descriptions, part-time open enrollment, food service, and information security. 

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