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Revere BOE OKs new electronic device policy

10/25/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Students with iPads, Kindles, Nooks and other electronic devices will now be able to use them at school for educational purposes, thanks to a change in policy by the Revere Local Schools District Board of Education Oct. 16.

During the meeting that evening, the board approved a replacement policy on student personal communication devices that Superintendent Randy Boroff said was a result of the district’s move to a district-wide wireless network this past summer.

“We understand students use personal electronic devices for educational purposes,” Boroff said. “We want teachers to encourage use of electronic devices in school.”

The policy applies to computers, tablets, electronic readers, cell phones, pagers and other web-enabled devices of any type.

The revised policy states students are allowed to use devices before and after school and during after-school activities. They also may use the devices on school-provided transportation during school-sponsored activities at the discretion of the bus driver, teacher or sponsor/adviser/coach.

It also states that use of electronic devices, except those approved by a teacher or administrator, at any other time is prohibited and they must be powered off and stored out of sight.

The policy also states that the best way for parents to reach their students during the school day will continue to be calling the school rather than the student’s personal phone.

The district also adopted its Third Grade Reading Guarantee policy, which was required by state law, Boroff said. The guarantee requires that students entering third grade must demonstrate a certain level of competency in reading before advancing to fourth grade.

The district must now create a program to assess the reading skills of each student at the end of first and second grades and designate those students that are reading below their grade levels. Students below grade level will receive intervention using research-based reading strategies targeted to the individual student, according to the policy.

Also during the meeting, the board approved the five-year financial forecast, and Treasurer David Forrest said it shows the district is in good financial shape.

“This forecast is a very strong forecast,” he said. “We are operating very strong fiscally.”

He added that the district at this point should be able to continue operating through the five years on its current levies, and there’s even a possibility that the district can continue into fiscal years (FY) 2018 and 2019 without additional money, thanks to reserves that have been built up.

Still, Forrest said the district has seen losses in revenue due to property devaluations and loss of some state funding, totaling $2.2 million.

As for expenditures, Forrest said the district has tried to contain costs in personnel. The next few years show just modest increases there, he said, which is partly due to the 18 teachers that took part in an early retirement incentive plan. Also, the district instituted salary freezes for both of its unions and administrators, he said.

In other business, the board approved a new fund in the district, the James Bennett Washington, D.C., Memorial Fund. It was created in memory of James Bennett, a Revere Middle School student who died this summer. Funds contributed to the fund will go to support a student with the costs of attending the annual eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C., Forrest said.

The district also accepted donations to the fund in the amounts of $150 from Jeffrey Weil and Rosamond Hong and $50 from Mr. and Mrs. David Zimmerman. Other donations accepted this month were $2,092 from the Revere All Sports Booster Club for electrical work at the Spirit Shack, and $10,800 raised at the Jared Ellsworth Tournament from the booster club, with $1,000 of that going to the scoreboard and $4,900 to each of the girls and boys basketball programs. Revere High School received $500 from the International Soap Box Derby in appreciation for the volunteer efforts of the school’s football players and $940 from Target’s Take Charge of Education program.

As for the board members’ committees, Tom Kelley said the Finance/Audit Committee met to go over the forecast and plans to meet again in January.

Boroff said the board’s Facilities and Grounds Committee would like to do what the Finance and Audit Committee has done and bring in community members and administrators to help evaluate the state of the district’s buildings.

“We have a list of potential community members to invite,” he said.

In his report, Boroff said the district was awaiting preliminary data from the state on its rankings for the year. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has delayed the release of the state report cards this year after there were questions raised on some districts’ attendance reporting.

Boroff added that Revere was one of the districts whose attendance records were examined by the state auditor and no discrepancies were found.

According to the data released by the ODE Oct. 17, Revere earned an Excellent with Distinction rating, met Adequate Yearly Progress goals and was “above” in the Value Added category. [See related story on Page 1.]

During his report, Business Services Coordinator Kevin Matowitz said his next project is to evaluate building security throughout the district. He said the current building control system in place was installed about 12 years ago.

Matowitz added the district also would like to look into renovating the high school auditorium with a new sound system, lighting and curtains.

During the period for public comment, the board heard from Bob Sigsworth, of the Revere Music Parents Association. He thanked the district for heeding a request from the parent group to add staff to the music program.

“We really appreciate it,” he said. “The atmosphere in band has really improved just by adding one half-time staff person.”

The board will meet for a work session Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Administration Building, 3496 Everett Road. The next regular meeting will be Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. in the Revere High School Library, 3420 Everett Road.

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