The Western Dubuque School District will become a one-to-one computer district for students in grades nine through 12 after the board approved the purchase of computers at the regular board meeting, Oct. 12.

The board approved a bid for over 1,200 computers from Minolta for $412,450. The total cost comes out to be $329.96 per unit. In addition, a three-year accidental warranty will run $131.39 per unit for a total of $164,237.

While the units will be rolled out to students as soon as they arrive, Director of Curriculum and Assessment Kelly Simon explained that staff will be trained on the units one department at a time.

“We will treat this like a new curriculum adoption. Say we start with the social studies department. All the time and resources will be focused on that department, making sure they are utilizing this as a tool to improve instruction to help access curriculum and help with assessment. Those are the type of things we would do with a new textbook, so we are treating it the same way.”

Simon added that when one department is finished, staff will move on to another department until all training is complete. “Each department’s time is coming, so we will ask them to utilize the computers as best they can for now, doing what they know is best and we will get to them.”

She said while the units will be a great resource for students and staff, they won’t replace teachers.

“By doing one department at a time, it helps us stay tried and true that this isn’t going to replace our people. It’s still people before programs.”

The board also passed a resolution directing the county commissioner of elections to provide a submission of the proposition continuing to levy a physical plant and equipment levy (PPEL) to the voters in the district.

The current PPEL is set to expire July 1, 2022.

The vote is scheduled for Tuesday, March 1, 2021, and will seek to continue to levy and annual PPEL not to exceed $1 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in any one school year, for a period of 10 years.

The board also heard the 2019-20 annual financial report from Business and Finance Director Mark Frasher.

Frasher noted in his report that PPEL monies funded several purchases and improvements to buildings and grounds totaling $1,469,769.