Culver school board updated on iPads, budget

Members of Culver Community Schools’ board of trustees received an update on the iPad program for Middle and High School students at their Monday night meeting. In May, the trustees approved a contract with Apple for $150,000 to supply each student grades 7 through 12 with an iPad for use as a supplemental teaching tool. Albert Hanselman, administrator, introduced Cameron Turney to give the board members her unbiased opinion of the iPad.
Hanselman said “Cameron is extremely bright and was very skeptical when initially presented with the iPad. I want you to hear her unedited opinion of the program.”
Cameron said that originally, she was not excited about the iPad program as she was not technologically oriented. However, after the first few weeks of use, she cited all the advantages she saw in use of the device. Several applications she endorsed were the ability to take and organize study notes, recording a teacher’s lecture or instructions, communication ability in group texting among students, and ability to use as a study guide for tests. The teacher, however, must agree to let the student record the class. Homework assignments can be given on line, samples of test questions, and an ability to discuss assignments with other students are also pluses Cameron reported.
Drawbacks were negligible but included a poor camera quality Cameron said. Often, teachers will send several pages from a textbook for reference and the camera resolution makes them almost impossible to read text. She also said that if homework or other messages from teachers was not received prior to leaving the school property, there was no wireless connection to receive the information. She thanked the board for initiating this program and told them she would not have been able to secure an iPad without the program assistance.
Hanselman told the board that Cameron has been chosen as a semi-finalist in the National Merit Scholarship program. Of all the students qualified for receiving this honor, only 8,400 in the nation are chosen as semi-finalists. “This distinction not only speaks to Cameron’s abilities, but is a big plus for Culver High School to have a semi-finalist.” Hanselman said.
In a short business meeting, the public hearing for the 2012 budget was held. Brad Schuldt, superintendent, presented the budget for next year at $12,139, 149 which reflects $1.4 million in the Capital Projects budget and $84,000 in the Bus Replacement fund. This figure reflects a 4.85 percent decrease or $620,000 less than the 2011 budget. The Capital Projects budget is 15.8 percent lower than 2011 and Bus Replacement is 33 percent lower. “This is just the beginning of reductions, Schuldt said,”we will see further cuts for 2013.”
Board member Ken VandePutte thanked the school for allowing use of the softball field for the Firemen/Policemen baseball game which benefits the local Food Pantry. Jack Jones inquired about a construction update on the new configuration of utilities and Hanselman said a construction meeting was scheduled for the following day. Marilyn Swanson congratulated the football team and all members thanked Cameron for her presentation.
Schuldt announced that after the adjournment of the meeting, there would be an instruction period for use of iPads by Daniel Medisi, the school’s computer technician. All board members were receiving individual iPads for use at conferences and meetings. There is an upcoming conference at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis which all trustees are attending and the iPads are expected to be an asset in keeping notes on the various seminars they will attend. Schuldt said the use of the laptops and iPads had considerably reduced the amount of paper used in a year and also reduced the cost of copy machines whose rental fees are based on the number of copies made.
The next school board meeting will be October 10, budget adoption,October 31, November 7 and 21 and December 8.