Lodi Uni­fied board OKs hir­ing school re­source of­fi­cers, raises sub pay

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Front Page - By John Bays NEWS-SEN­TINEL STAFF WRITER

The Lodi Uni­fied School Dis­trict’s Board of Ed­u­ca­tion meet­ing tack­led mul­ti­ple top­ics on Wed­nes­day night, the first of which arose dur­ing a dis­cus­sion about hir­ing four Lodi po­lice of­fi­cers to work full-time as school re­source of­fi­cers.

Vice Pres­i­dent Ge­orge Neely of the school board op­posed the ap­proval of $301,410 to hire the of­fi­cers, say­ing that the school dis­trict should not have to pay for the ser­vice.

“I have a prob­lem pay­ing the city to have po­lice at our schools full time. It’s not a foot­ball game, it’s not a rock con­cert, it’s not a WWE event. We shouldn’t have to pay them to do the job they al­ready get paid for,” Neely said.

The mo­tion passed with a six-to-one vote, with Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. Cathy Ni­chol­sWasher ex­plain­ing that the school dis­trict would only have to pay for part of the ser­vice, with the Lodi Po­lice De­part­ment cov­er­ing the re­main­der of the cost.

One agenda item that passed unan­i­mously was the de­ci­sion to in­crease the pay for clas­si­fied sub­sti­tute teachers by four per­cent, ef­fec­tive Jan. 1, 2018. Clas­si­fied sub­sti­tutes last re­ceived a pay raise on Aug. 16, 2016, ac­cord­ing to As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent of Per­son­nel Mike McKil­li­gan.

The next dis­cus­sion took place when Chief Busi­ness Of­fi­cer Leonard Kahn and Di­rec­tor of Tech­nol­ogy Ser­vices Edith Hol­bert re­ported on the Tech­nol­ogy Ad­vi­sory Sub­com­mit­tee’s sum­mary from their meet­ing re­gard­ing is­su­ing Chrome­books for stu­dents to take home. The dis­trict cur­rently has 28,670 stu­dents and 37,322 Chrome­books as of Nov. 3, ac­cord­ing to Hol­bert, and can there­fore af­ford to pro­vide the lap­top com­put­ers to stu­dents in sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion.

“We rec­om­mend Chrome­books for all sev­enth- through 12th-grade stu­dents with a hard clamshell case. We also dis­cussed kin­der­garten through sixth-grade stu­dents check­ing out Chrome­books as needed, is­su­ing ear­buds to all stu­dents at the start of every school year and de­vice in­surance for par­ents to pur­chase in the event of ac­ci­den­tal dam­age,” Hol­bert said.

Board mem­ber Daryl Talken ques­tioned whether par­ents would bear the cost of re­pair­ing or re­plac­ing the Chrome­books, but Neely ex­plained that some stu­dents al­ready re­pair lap­tops, and might be able to as­sist with this po­ten­tial is­sue. Neely also ex­plained that Chrome­books for sev­enth-and eighth­graders would re­main at their re­spec­tive schools at the end of each year, while ninththrough 12th-graders would keep theirs through­out their en­tire high school ca­reers, with the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing able to pur­chase them at re­duced prices upon grad­u­a­tion, once the lap­tops reach the end of their four-year op­er­a­tional life­span.

“One of the great­est things about go­ing dig­i­tal and bring­ing Chrome­books home is that stu­dents can’t say that they for­got their home­work, be­cause it’s in the Cloud,” Neely said. Hol­bert then ex­plained that the dis­trict would ini­tially is­sue Chrome­books al­ready in their pos­ses­sion, and would only have to pur­chase the hard cases and ear­buds. When School Board Pres­i­dent Ron He­berle ex­pressed con­cerns that stu­dents car­ry­ing Chrome­books to and from school might be­come tar­gets for theft, Neely ex­plained that there would likely be lit­tle or no black mar­ket de­mand for a $200 lap­top that can only ac­cess the school dis­trict’s net­work. Hol­bert also used the Chrome­books’ cost to il­lus­trate how they might even­tu­ally re­place text­books for stu­dents, say­ing that the av­er­age cost of text­books for a sin­gle stu­dent for one year is ap­prox­i­mately $250. Neely con­cluded the meet­ing by ex­plain­ing that the lo­gis­tics of the plan are still be­ing fi­nal­ized, and that he wanted feedback from the school board be­fore pro­ceed­ing.

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