The Fort Wayne Community School Board has approved a broad technology purchase for next school year. The board took that action April 26.

The board approved the purchase of 4,493 Apple iPads, including set-up service and 3,693 iPad cases, as part of the school’s current technology plan.

3,000 will be replacements for older iPads, with 200 going to K-2 students and 600 to preschool students. Older iPads will be moved to elementary and media centers for summer reading use.

“As we replace other iPads, we’ll move those to the media center,” FWCS Superintendent Mark Daniel said.

It’s estimated 28,000 laptops and iPads are currently in use at FWCS. They have a 4-5% breakage rate, meaning approximately 800 will need repairs for various reasons.

Board Secretary Julie Hollingsworth discussed insurance and where families purchase it for their laptops and iPads. The annual insurance fee ranges from $26-30, depending on the item in use. Currently, only 11% of families buy the insurance.

An additional purchase of 210 laptops was approved. The laptops will be given to Wayne New Tech and Northrop PLTW Engineering students, as these laptops will meet the technological specifications needed for the two programs.

Board member and Vice President Maria Norman stressed the expense and importance of having graphing calculators available for algebra students to use in math classes, after a purchase of 190 calculators was approved unanimously by board members. The devices will go to all five high schools to be used as classroom sets.

Norman herself shared memories of the struggle of affording a TI-84 graphing calculator during her time in school. Other board members discussed the possibility of loaning out calculators for PSAT, SAT and ACT testing as well as providing them to students in need who otherwise could not afford them.

Finally, Director of Nutrition Services Candice Hagar presented “ A Year In The Life of Nutrition Services.”

Major changes last year due to COVID-19 included receiving less federal funding; limiting the number of entrée choices due to manufacturers’ stock problems; staffing issues from illness and quarantine; and changing the date of the annual bake sale, which provides funds for the schools backpack program.

Hagar also discussed summer feeding sites, adding that open sites are designed to feed anyone between the ages of 0-18.

Discussions of how to plan for next year’s Fort Wayne Virtual Academy were discussed. Virtual students will be state-funded at 85 percent, compared to 100 percent for students who attend in person.

Board member Jennifer Matthias encouraged people to stay in tune regarding Indiana state school funding and how it’s distributed, to ensure local voices are heard.

Finally, Norman shared a letter she received from fourth-grader Ruby Lyons, who requested that the schools compost instead of throwing food away. Norman applauded Lyons utilizing the lines of communication to make change, even at such a young age.

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