Administrators at the high school have been asked to analyze and manipulate student data on 1990 computers that jam up and have the keys fall off – “junk,” in the words of School Supt. Thomas Riutta.
At Monday’s meeting of the Van Buren Public Schools Board of Education, the board voted unanimously to buy 20 new Dell laptop computers for BHS administrators and key teachers to use at a cost not to exceed $21,621.60.
The money comes out of the large technology portion of the bonds for BHS construction.
BHS Principal Michael Van Tassel said he really needs 80 to give to all the teachers to use, but he didn’t want to ask for all of them at once. He requested just 10 to 20 now.
Supt. Riutta said eventually they will buy all 80 computers needed.
In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board:
* Approved the low $1,569,099 bid of City Carpet & Flooring, Detroit, for soft flooring for the BHS construction;
* Approved the low $58,950 bid of D.C. Byers, Detroit, for resinous & epoxy flooring for the project;
* Approved the low $98,300 bid of Cig Jan Products, Caledonia, for visual display boards for throughout BHS;
* Approved the low bid of $118,000 for interior and exterior signage from Detroit Marking Products. This is for wayfinding signs in the school, safety signs (Exit), and the electronic message board in front of the school on West Columbia Ave.;
* Approved the $78,620 low bid of The Sheer Shop in Shelby Township for blinds and shades, some motorized and most manual;
* Approved the second-lowest bid of $74,985 of Aerodynamics Inspecting Company, Inc. for testing, adjusting and balancing air flows and other things;
* Approved the $542,810 bid of the DataCom Group, Holt, for technology wiring for present and future needs. This is just the infrastructure for the equipment that will be ordered;
* Heard a presentation on safety considerations for the 2011 Spring Break student trip to Germany, France, and Spain, telling what would be done in case of a U.S. government travel warning due to terrorism or civil unrest. Board President David Peer said since it is a school-sponsored trip, he wanted the group to know that if the board was convinced the trip was too dangerous for students, the board could cancel the trip. Board Treasurer Martha Toth said, speaking from experience, that parents have to make decisions, knowing, “Something can go wrong”;
* Heard an enthusiastic presentation by curriculum consultant Bonnie Riutta and BHS Principal Van Tassel on the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing of ninth graders at the high school that has brought “legitimate, quality data that we can look at” and see specific things to focus on for the students, Van Tassel said. The students will be tested again in January;
* Discussed about $500,000 worth of equipment needed by the Building & Grounds, Maintenance, and Transportation Departments, including trucks, vans, mowers, and a radio system for the whole district, to replace outdated equipment. The bids aren’t in place yet and the plan to finance the purchases is yet to be completed, so no action could be taken;
* Approved hiring of Doris Birchmeier as a special education teacher at BHS ($39,365); Dorte Junker, as a special education speech pathologist/itinerant ($50,303); James Chmielseski as a bus driver; Michelle Cosby as a food service worker at Savage; Gail Hanes as a food service worker at BHS; Stephanie Jones as a food service worker at North Middle School; Robert Page as a bus driver; and Donna Wise as a food service worker at BHS;
* Approved minutes of three special disciplinary meetings that resulted in the permanent expulsion of three students and the suspension of another student for 10 days;
* Approved the May 19-20 trip to Mackinac Island for Savage fourth graders and Haggerty fourth and fifth graders. About 160 students are expected, plus 40 chaperones;
* Changed the Nov. 22 board meeting date to Nov. 29 to avoid the week of Thanksgiving; and
* Held the first reading of a proposed Parent involvement Policy to comply with requirements for Title 1 funding. The second reading and adoption is expected to be at the Nov. 8 meeting of the board.