Board to discuss virtual school, iPads

By Bethany Knipp

The USD 383 Board of Education will discuss its online education program, the purchase of iPads at Marlatt Elementary School and a number of maintenance projects at its 6:30 p.m. Wednesday meeting.

Manhattan Virtual Academy was approved by the board in March after the school district terminated its contract with its previous online education company, K12 Inc., in December 2013.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the board will decide whether it approves of Pearson Learning for the program’s curriculum.

The total cost of using Pearson for a 12-month period would be $68,090, $15,500 under budget, according to agenda information. The program is paid for using virtual education funds saved during the last seven years.

Marlatt Elementary also might be stocking up on Apple products if the board approves its request to purchase $20,009.95 worth of iPads.

According to agenda information, the Marlatt Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization previously donated money to the school to purchase iPads and iPad carts. Since the 2011-12 school year, every certified teacher at Marlatt has been issued an iPad.

Expanding the technology for student use, the school now has 55 iPad minis and 20 standard iPads.  The current consideration is for the school to purchase 40 iPads and 35 iPad minis.

The board also will discuss a variety of maintenance projects, including Northview Elementary School structural improvements, Manhattan High School East Campus storm water modifications and playground surfacing at Bluemont, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson elementary schools.

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