30% of Springfield classrooms now have computers for every student (SJ-R.com, 9/20/17)

A total of 250 of the Springfield School District’s 850 classrooms, roughly 30 percent, are now one-to-one, meaning a computer for every student.

The influx is part of a five-year technology plan District 186 launched in 2016 to replace aging computers, boost technology at the middle and high schools and improve infrastructure.

Superintendent Jennifer Gill provided the update at Monday’s school board meeting.

To be considered one-to-one, a classroom must have a cart with enough iPads, Chromebooks or laptops for every student to utilize during class time.

Gill said the increase in the number of one-to-one classrooms is a strength of District 186 and a program the district hopes to grow.

To fund the initiative, District 186 charges a technology fee of $35 (students can get a waiver). The money is then set aside and teachers can submit a grant request.

District 186′s technology school, Lincoln Magnet, is also fully one-to-one.

“When teachers are digital movers and really want to have technology in their hands, they can apply for a grant,” Gill said. “It gets devices in students’ hands each and every day and frees up carts for teachers who are just starting out in how to use technologies.”

Full Story: http://www.sj-r.com/news/20170920/30-of-springfield-classrooms-now-have-computers-for-every-student

District 186 budget includes $25,000 for Springfield High artificial turf field (SJ-R.com)

A board member says the money is needed to cover pledges to the Booster Club that didn’t come through.

Springfield High School’s Booster Club would get $25,000 in District 186′s proposed budget, despite the group and district agreeing four years ago the club would secure all financing for the school’s New Street Athletic Facility.

The school board is expected to vote on the proposed budget at Monday’s school board meeting, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the district office.

It isn’t totally clear why the funds are included in the budget and how the money would be spent.

The Springfield High School Booster Club pledged in 2013 it would fund the turf project, which was estimated to cost $640,000.

More at: http://www.sj-r.com/news/20170913/district-186-budget-includes-25000-for-springfield-high-artificial-turf-field

Bill passes that changes ed funding, adds vouchers, rolls back drivers’ ed, PE (IEANEA.org, 8/29/17)

The Illinois Senate on Tuesday passed a school funding plan that revamps the way schools are funded, but also implements a temporary voucher program and allows districts to ask for fewer physical education classes and hire outside companies for drivers education classes.

The bill passed on a 38-13 vote. It will now go to the desk of Gov. Bruce Rauner for his approval. The bill struggled a bit more in the House the night before — first failing to pass, prompting Representatives to vote on an override of Rauner’s amendatory veto of the original school funding proposal of Senate Bill 1, a vote which also failed. And, then finally passed upon a reconsideration.

IEA President Kathi Griffin urged Rauner not to sign the bill because it takes money away from public education and gives it to wealthy tax donors through a personal tax break in the same bill that finally provides fair funding to Illinois schools — and there is no funding set aside for this voucher program.

“In addition, provisions in this bill that allow districts to outsource drivers education programs and cut back physical education classes hurt students and their families,” Griffin said. “The IEA will be working to educate communities and families on how to minimize the negative impact these provisions could have on their communities.”

Full Story: https://ieanea.org/2017/08/29/bill-to-add-voucher-program-changes-to-drivers-ed-pe-passes-house/