By Joel Phelps
Students at Arkadelphia High School will soon be trading in their MacBooks for Dell Chromebooks thanks to a Tuesday decision by the Board of Education.
The school board voted unanimously to authorize the purchase of 650 Dell Chromebooks, paid in full by a grant. The school district’s lease with Apple has expired, and the switch to Dell will save the district some $170,000 over a five-year period, Tammy Barger, district business manager, said.
Board members also unanimously approved a resolution allowing Stephens, Inc., to apply and bid for $15.3 million in bonds on the district’s behalf. The bonds will fund the construction of new campuses. Jason Holsclaw of Stephens explained that he would be able to give the district the final results of the second lien bonds in May. Holsclaw said the district has the option to reject any bid if there are any unusual circumstances in interest rates.
In a related action, the board approved proposed expenditures for the district’s 2023-2024 budget. The district will use revenue earned from a rate of 44.54 mils; the millage rate remains the same.
Board members also heard a presentation from Chartwells Food Services offering a one-year recap of its contract with the district. In the first year, Chartwells was able to serve 33,000 more meals and earn an additional $171,000 in revenue, company representatives told the board.
In the coming year the company intends to launch its Discovery Kitchen program, which integrates students’ culinary experience with education. Chartwells also applied for and received a grant of $11,480 to cover upgrades to kitchen equipment and appliances districtwide.
In the superintendent’s report, Dr. Karla Neathery’s announced there has been a “big drop” in Covid-19 cases despite an alarming uptick at the beginning of the spring semester.
Last week the district used two of its allotted 10 Alternative Methods of Instruction days. She said administration continues to monitor the Arkansas Department of Health Information’s map that shows the active number of cases in school districts across the state.