School board to replace iPads with Chromebooks

The Massena Central School Board of Education will be switching from iPads to Chromebooks, like those used by students and teachers in the district. Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The Massena Central School District’s Board of Education will be moving from iPads to Chromebooks, putting them in line with the Chromebooks used by teachers and students throughout the district.

“Our iPads are starting to get a little bit on the old side and are due for replacement. There’s been some discussion with Mr. Allen (Technology Director Michael Allen) and Mr. Brady (Superintendent Patrick Brady) that perhaps moving to Chromebooks would be a good move. They’re less expensive than iPads,” board President Paul Haggett said.

He said the suggestion for the switch had come from Mr. Allen.

“I defer to Mike. Mike thinks we should do it, then I think we should do it,” Mr. Haggett said.

He said he personally favors using a Chromebook, “not the least of which because it’s the same platform that our students are using, and I think most of the staff as well.”

Board member Kevin Perretta wondered if the plan was to do away with the iPad when it was no longer functional, or replace all of them at once.

“I think it’s to do it all once to make it as a planned purchase,” Mr. Haggett said.

Following discussion, board members were in consensus that they should move to Chromebooks.

“I actually asked if I could have a Chromebook because I’m much more familiar with that platform and with the apps,” board member Patricia Murphy said. “This (the use of iPads) is okay, but the Chromebooks do have a touchscreen and you do have a physical keyboard. So it does kind of make interacting easier, at least for me.”

Board members were also polled about the need for the book, “School Law,” and whether they would prefer hard or digital copies.

“We can actually have this uploaded to our Chromebooks. It’s probably cheaper if we go ahead and do it that way. We probably don’t even need nine licenses. We could do six because it certainly would be a very rare thing that we would all have to open the app that would run the book all at the same time. So we could probably save a little bit more money that way than buying physical books,” Mr. Haggett said.

The physical copy and ebook of the 38th edition of the book is listed at $131 for members of the New York State School Boards Association and students. For others, it costs $150.

“They are not cheap,” board member Loren Fountaine said.

Mr. Haggett said he felt it was important for members to have the book as a resource.

“I do think that having the School Law book as a resource for developing policy, reviewing policy, answering policy questions, answering law questions would be a good resource for all of us to have. I think what we would want to do is, when we get the Chromebooks, go ahead and do whatever magic needs to be done behind the scenes to make the School Law books happen on the computers,” Mr. Haggett said.

“I don’t know that the school board necessarily needs a copy of the School Law book. It’s pretty dry and I don’t know that we should be interpreting law. We depend on our advisors to give us those answers. Pat (Brady) can copy and paste the School Law right into an email if somebody wants it. That’s just my opinion,” Mr. Fountaine said.

However, Mr. Perretta felt it was needed.

“I’ve used it a number of times in my tenure here. When we recently spoke with the new board members, a lot of the role of the board member is spelled out in that law book. It’s clearly spoken in that section on school board member roles and responsibilities. So I recommend this,” he said.

One question board members had was if there would be a need to buy a new license every year for the digital copy.

“They don’t change it substantially. If you get a book, it’s good for a while. For a board when it’s used, it’s not likely to change much,” Mr. Perretta said.

“I can tell you, if it’s a Chromebook, you download it and you have it just like the book forever. So you have that version forever. You don’t have to relicense that version. They aren’t changing much. The last major change was when APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review) came down. That was the last major change to it. Other than that, there hasn’t been a lot of changes,” Mr. Fountaine said.

Board members agreed that they should look at moving ahead with a purchase.

“Just get the rest of the details on what the license entails and weigh that against the cost of the books and who wants it and who doesn’t,” Mr. Perretta said.

“Or how many licenses do we really need to have,” Mr. Haggett said.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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