No laptops for school board

Controversy did not escape the Mercer Island School District’s Board of Directors in its quest to go paperless by their next regular meeting on Sept. 8.

The district has been working on developing a system for board members to share information online with the ability to annotate. This means software selection and making sure each member has a laptop computer.

Ken Glass addressed the board on Aug. 25, strongly opposing district PCs being loaned or given to board members for their use.

“Using money, public money, to be used in board member’s homes sends the wrong message, especially in today’s economic climate,” Glass said.

Glass, a former school board director, who said he was actively involved in procuring levy money and served on the district’s tech committee, said this never came up for discussion.

He reminded the board that if computers are unavailable, the library has ample computers and technology. He also questioned how much the machines would be used since they are only to be used for board business.

“This message is especially wrong at this time when you’re going to ask the community to spend tens of millions of dollars on new facilities,” Glass said.

Superintendent Gary Plano said the district was not “wedded” to anything yet. He said they have not done an exhaustive search for the appropriate software.

Board member Dave Myerson pointed out that most of the board members have their own laptop anyway. Brian Emanuels, the newest member of the board, asked if there was a reason they couldn’t use their own computers; Plano said there was not.

Jennifer Wright, the district’s executive director of learning and technology services, said no money has been spent on software or hardware for board members. She said Adobe Acrobat 10 would probably be the choice of software to enable the board to do the work paperless, at minimal cost.


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