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Sarasota Thursday, Sep. 6, 2012 5 years ago

School Board alters student policies

by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

As mobile technology has improved and prices of handheld devices have fallen, public school teachers have gained powerful new tools to improve lessons.

The School Board of Sarasota County Tuesday, Sept. 4, voted to allow the advertisement of a revision to its handheld electronic device policy now allowing use of technology within classrooms. Textbook publishers are pairing learning tools with the fastest-growing technology trends, touting cost and learning efficiency.

The technology-influenced policy revisal was coupled with an agenda item asking for the deletion of surplus and obsolete district property, including more than 250 HP laptops, several overhead projectors and 15 portable classrooms. The total number of surplus items was purchased for a total of $289,702, and its value has fallen to just under $2,000, according to agenda documents.

A joint meeting with the Sarasota County Commission the previous week was held to discuss ways to further strengthen ties between the jurisdictional bodies, and County Administrator Randall Reid’s emphasis on disaster preparedness was supported when the School Board voted to allow the use of Booker High School as a storm shelter. The county will pay to expand concrete walls, harden roofs and alter the electrical system to accommodate a generator.

Forecasted population growth has forced Sarasota County to start considering new emergency shelter options when disasters threaten the region. Two tropical storms gave emergency-management staff a chance to practice procedures, and now the School Board of Sarasota County will partner with the jurisdiction to get Booker High storm-ready.

After work is completed, the facility will be able to withstand winds of up to 170 miles per hour, according to the contract, which will be an increase from 130 miles per hour currently supported. Construction and design will be funded with two $502,411 payments from Sarasota County, and the contract requires quarterly update briefings from the school board. Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane will have access to the shelter, which will be used for the general population during disasters.

Contact Alex Mahadevan at


The School Board of Sarasota County during a Sept. 4 meeting approved changes to the district’s wellness program, which brought it into compliance with the Hunger Free Healthy Kids Act of 2010. That included striking reduced-fat milk from a list of foods that School Board staff can encourage students to consume and appointing “wellness coordinators” at each of the district’s schools to oversee compliance with the program, according to agenda documents.

HP laptops: 221
Total items deleted: 269
Original cost of deleted property: $289,702
Current value of deleted property: $1,742.70




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