school board

Third graders sing at a Wrangell Public School Board meeting Monday, Nov. 17, 2014.

The Wrangell Public School Board approved budget revisions Monday that would provide tablet devices for all students in Kindergarten through eighth grade.

The plan has not been finalized, but it would move the whole Wrangell school district to “one-to-one computing.” That means the district would give a computer to each student.

Every high school student already receives a laptop. With an additional $100,300 budgeted for supplies, every elementary and middle school student might receive an iPad.

Wrangell Schools Superintendent Patrick Mayer said the district can buy tablets this year because an enrollment increase brought in extra funding.

“It might not be possible to do in the future,” Mayer said. “However, if we look at a long-term plan, it might be possible to budget money on an annual basis, so that in four years we can then again, recycle the tablets, and buy a new version of those so we can stay current.”

The new Alaska standardized tests are electronic, which is one reason behind increased efforts to get computers for students.

As I move around the state and I see the educational environment, I’m never seeing less technology,” Mayer said. “What I’m seeing is more. Even in day-to-day teaching, they are using more and more technology in their lessons and just as a whole.”

Mayer said tablets would work well because they are gaining capabilities and are half the price of laptops. He said the district still needs to decide how to train staff to incorporate tablets in the classroom.

School board members also discussed a $25,000 increase in the student travel budget. Students have to fly for activities more often this year because the ferry schedule is not working for the district.

The audit of Fiscal Year 2014 school finances was clean.