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Digital records software gets OK
Henry County Schools
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
The Henry County School Board on Monday approved buying a software application and equipment that will allow the school system to file student records digitally.
During a special school board meeting, board members approved the purchase of the DocMP Records and Human Resources Software application and equipment, which will allow the capture of active student records at each school. The system also will make it easier to transfer student records from school to school as students move through the system, according to board documents.
The school system will house the information on a server at the school board office, according to the meeting’s agenda.
The DocMP application also can be expanded to include board minutes, transportation and other records.
A few days after Henry County Schools Superintendent Jared Cotton joined the system in January, he visited its records office adjacent to Axton Elementary School. There, Cotton found paper records sorted and filed in boxes, and it occurred to him that if there was a fire or a flood, the school system could lose the records, he said after Monday’s meeting.
Sorting through boxes of files from many years ago is time consuming, but with a digital filing system, records can be accessed quickly and can be safe from a disaster, Cotton added.
“I don’t want to keep adding filing cabinets,” he said. Instead, the school system must get into the 21st century by filing electronically, he said.
Student records will be digitized first, with personnel records done soon after, according to Cotton.
Irisburg District school board member Curtis Millner Sr. was in favor of using the application because “I think it’s a good thing to have it (records) stored like that so that it will never be completely lost” due to a fire or other disaster, he said during the meeting.
The school system will begin training records staff later this summer, but “it’s hard to tell at this point” how long it will take to get the application fully operating, Cotton said.
If funding is available, the school system may need to hire additional part-time staff to help with scanning the more than 30 years’ worth of records. Once the scanning begins, staff will scan the most recent student records and work backward, Cotton said.
The purchase cost of about $51,424 will be paid for with fiscal 2012 year-end funds.
In other business Monday, the school board:
• Approved an additional appropriation request of $30,456. American Electric Power issued a $30,456 rebate to the school system for energy improvements made at Laurel Park Middle School and Magna Vista High School. The school system is planning to use the funds to complete lighting and ceiling renovations in several classrooms at Magna Vista High School.
The school system will forward the appropriation request to the board of supervisors.
• Approved categorical transfers of $200,000 and agreed to forward a transfer appropriation request to the board of supervisors.
Due to the current economic bidding environment, bids for facility projects are coming in considerably under original estimated costs. By completing a categorical transfer, the school system will be able to purchase additional instructional items, such as Advanced Placement tests for both high schools, additional Read 180 licenses for the reading intervention program used in the schools, and various other instructional materials, board documents show.
There is no overall fiscal impact because funds would be shifted among budget categories.
• Approved the purchase of the PD 360 Professional Development Program and granted Cotton authority to select the best option based on available funding. An escape clause after one year also was approved for the program.
PD 360 is an online, on-demand professional development program that hosts the world’s largest online professional learning community.
The program will allow teachers to collaborate with other teachers across the country, and at their own convenience, they can watch videos demonstrating certain teaching strategies performed by other teachers, Cotton said during the meeting.
Because the program contains online courses, teachers could possibly gain re-certification through the program, Cotton added.
The three funding options for the project are (option 1) $64,330 for the first year, $67,126 for the second year, and $70,062 for the third year; (option 2) $192,990 for a 36-month contract; (option 3) $176,190 for a 36-month contract without training in years two and three.
During the meeting, Cotton said that he favored the second option, which includes full training.
• Approved the purchase of additional licenses for the READ 180 Next Generation Program. The school board approved the purchase of 120 additional Stage A The Next Generation licenses ($70,312) and 60 additional System 44 licenses ($17,649) for READ 180 pending availability of year-end funding.
Additional licenses are needed because more students in the school system need reading intervention than originally thought, Cotton said during the meeting.
READ 180 targets skill development in the following areas: phonemic awareness, phonics, instruction, fluency, text comprehension, vocabulary, spelling and writing.
• Approved the payment of Advanced Placement fees at Bassett and Magna Vista high schools, pending availability of funds.
Henry County Schools recently completed the second year of a three-year grant with the Virginia Advanced Studies Strategies organization. The grant is designed to increase the access of Advanced Placement courses to nontraditional students.
As part of the grant, VASS pays 50 percent of the cost of AP exams for students in math, science and English. The school division has committed to funding 50 percent of the cost for students in math, science, English and social studies.
The school system assumes the cost for indigent students. Indigent is defined as students participating in the free and reduced lunch program.
The school system has increased the number of AP exams administered from 116 in 2009-10 to 1,132 in 2011-12.
The board approved payment of $32,226 for Bassett High School and $17,774 for Magna Vista High School.
• Awarded bids for purchase orders from various vendors for K-12 instructional supplies. The bids equaled $51,716.27.
The school division annually requests bids for instructional supplies, including construction paper, pencils, crayons, scissors, writing paper and glue. By purchasing these items in volume, the school system is able to secure a lower per-item cost, according to board documents.
The bid amounts included: $8,078.74, Brame School Products; $16,549.14, Kurtz Bros.; $6,769.25, Pyramid School Products; $8,816.94, Standard Stationery Supply Co.; $11,502.20, Bassett Office Supply.
• Awarded a bid to Modern Door & Equipment Sales Inc. of White Plains, Md., in the amount of $33,934 to replace gym seating at Axton Elementary School.
The wooden seating in the Axton Elementary gym is worn out and in need of replacement. With the gym floor being resurfaced this summer, and the fact that the seating will need to be disconnected for the work to be completed, the school system thought it was a good opportunity to replace the seating with updated telescopic seating, which is made of composite-type material and folds up/out electronically, according to board documents.
• Awarded a contract to pave parking lots at both Bassett and Magna Vista high schools to J.C. Joyce Trucking and Paving of Patrick Springs. The projects awarded will depend on availability of funding.
The following prices have been provided for additional paving work to parking lots at Bassett High School and Magna Vista: BHS — repair and pave student and faculty parking lot — $113,930; BHS — repair and pave lower parking lot — $70,864; MVHS — repair and pave student and faculty parking lot — $222,965; MVHS — repair and pave lower parking lot — $197,785. The total fiscal impact is $605,544, subject to availability of funds.
• Awarded a bid for steer and recapped tires to Snider Fleet Solutions of Greensboro, N.C. The approximate cost of tires for the 2012-2013 school year is $106,654.50.
Henry County Schools uses about 170 new tires on steering axles and 350 recapped tires on rear axles each year. Bids were solicited to establish multi-year contracts, renewable for a total term of five years, to purchase new and recapped tires.
Snider Fleet Solutions had the lowest bid for steer tires at $360 per tire and recapped tires at $119.87 per tire that met specifications.
• Awarded a contract to Kingmor Supply Inc. of Harrisonburg to repair school bus seats. The total fiscal impact was estimated at $23,359, pending availability of funding.
School bus seats are repaired each summer due to normal wear and tear and for damages from vandalism.
• Approved the purchase of two additional Bluebird 2012 65-passenger, made-to-order school buses from Virginia Truck Center at the cost of $78,525 per bus (subject to availability of year-end funding).
There are 10, 1995 64-passenger International/Bluebird conventional school buses in the bus fleet that have an average of 256,282 miles. The 17-year-old buses are showing signs of age and wear, board documents show.
• Approved the purchase of kettles for John Redd Smith and the Center for Community Learning, and a braising pan with custom drain for Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School from So Lo Company Inc. of Martinsville. The cost was estimated to be $25,240.
School Nutrition solicited bids for equipment to replace obsolete stoves at John Redd Smith and the Center for Community Learning and the old pressure kettle at Fieldale-Collinsville to increase cooking capacity and conserve energy.
• Approved the estimated end-of-year accounts payable, which will be paid with fiscal year 2012 funds.
• Approved bills for payment.
Cotton said Monday that he anticipates that funding will be available for the items the board approved Monday, but approvals were made subject to funding availability in case fuel or other expenses come in higher than anticipated.
The board will have a regular meeting at 9 a.m. July 12 in the board meeting room, Henry County Administration Building.