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Technology improving at Morgan schools

Article Date: 
6 December, 2013 (All day)

Over the years many teachers in the Morgan County School District have had the opportunity to use technology such as Smart boards in their classrooms.  These have been purchased through school trustland money, or money provided by the Morgan Education Foundation.
But it just isn’t enough to keep up, said School Boardmember Jody Hipwell.  When Morgan High School went through its reaccreditation process a year ago, evaluators expressed concern that Morgan wasn’t keeping up with technology.
Superintendent Doug Jacobs hopes that a new deal between Morgan and the Alpine School District can make a difference.
In January, Alpine school employees are donating their time to install hard wiring and used wireless equipment in Morgan schools.  Alpine is donating the used equipment that will help enhance wireless systems in Morgan schools.  The end result will be an increase in wireless bandwidth so more wireless devices can be used in classrooms.
Morgan will have to pay $11,000 for the equipment that is worth three times that, Jacobs said.  In addition, temporary technology personnel will need to be hired.  The board approved taking the $11,000 from its capital fund and $6,700 for personnel from the contingency fund.
“It is an opportunity we just can’t say no to at this point,” Jacobs said. 
Business Manager D’Lynn Poll said it was appropriate to use contingency money for the project.
Alpine used the equipment for “a short time” before deciding to upgrade to a newer system, Jacobs said.  
School Boardmember Mark Farmer said the situation is a way Morgan is “thinking outside the box” to fund its needs.  
Technology is an issue the school board should not lose sight of, Jacobs said.  As new testing becomes necessary, new technology to administer that testing is also necessary, he said.  
Jacobs also gave the board a heads up that a change from PowerSchool to SIS is coming.  While PowerSchool cost $13,000 a year, SIS is a free state service.  However, the new service will require the district to purchase two servers at a total expense of about $10,000.
Jacobs said teachers may require some training to use SIS, but it is more efficient and economical since it ties into the state system.