Indianapolis Public Schools wants to make sure its students are ready just in case another quarantine happens.
The school district is planning for a large purchase to make that happen.
The district says adapting to the quarantine was a learning experience, but, now that they’ve been doing it for a bit, they’ve realized there are some positives. Plus, more money is available to help IPS plan for the future.
As the virus keeps kids out of school, IPS is still been working hard to ensure students are learning. Since March 13, IPS has distributed 3,723 Chromebooks to students and 916 portable Wi-Fi units. Now, IPS leaders want to expand access.
Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said, “We are moving to a 1-to-1 device ratio and the professional development that will be necessary to make that transition, as well as when we get to the recovery and the other side of this crisis, we know there will be needs that emerge.”
The district plans to purchase 14,000 Chromebooks, 7,000 iPads, and 9,000 portable Wi-Fi units at a cost of $12 million. They say that money will come from operational and bond reserves. IPS says they’ve saved millions by not being in school buildings, not doing extracurricular activities and not using transportation. They’d like to focus that saved money on things that can help the district now and in the coming years.
“Continuing to pay IPS staff and contractors until the end of the school year, keeping the cash flow going for families,” said Weston Young, IPS chief financial manager. “Collaborating with organizations to distribute food and supplies to our community, provide child care to first responders, and also to distribute technology devices and learning packets to our staff and students.”
Unfortunately, there’s still some adapting that needs to be done this year. Students have done e-learning three days a week during stay-at-home orders from the governor and the Marion County Public Health Department, but IPS says it’ll now need to move to four days a week throughout May to complete the full school year in time for summer.
“We have adjusted our calendar to meet the 160-day threshold set forward in the governor’s executive order in response to the COVID-19 crisis,” Johnson said.
If you’d like to see a more in depth look at IPS’s funds, they went into a lot of detail in Thursday night’s meeting, which is on the IPS Facebook page.