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USD 355 moves to 21st century technology; considers new scoreboard
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ELLINWOOD — The Ellinwood School District is moving to 21st century technology and will only allow students to carry iPads into the classroom. Book bags are only allowed for students to carry books to and from school to the locker at the junior and senior high level.
Students, “don’t need to carry book bags like they used to,” said Shawn Henderson, Ellinwood High School principal. “We really want to stress the iPad.”
Each student at  USD 355 will receive an iPad.
The upper level students will receive an iPad bag that they will be encouraged to carry to class. The school is moving towards a goal of being paperless, said Henderson.
“We want the focus to come from the iPad,” said the principal. “The iPad bag will be the only kind of bag that they can carry in the classroom.”
In addition, the school will go paperless with the school calendar, and will no longer publish a paper calendar. Patrons can find the calendar online.
Superintendent Ben Jacobs said the district has been talking about eliminating the calendar for awhile. “It’s already out-of-date by the time we publish it,” said Jacobs. He said the online calendar can be kept up-to-date.

Scoreboard and sound
The district is making major improvements to the high school football field and track, and with that improvement, they are considering a new scoreboard and approved a new sound system at the football field.
The current score board is 27 years old and consistently has bulbs failing and that prevents it from functioning properly, Jacobs reported to the school board at its regular meeting in July. “Consequently, correct or identifiable information isn’t always displayed.”
He said the present sound system is ineffective and unreliable.
A new scoreboard will have an LED message board that will be used to post announcements about school events, play highlight and intro videos, and broadcast advertisements from local sponsors and merchants.
The district office received a quote from Parr Sound and Lighting for a new sound system at the football field because the present sound system is also inadequate and in need of constant repairs. A quote from Parr Sound and Lighting was $18,940, which the board approved, according to the unofficial minutes from the July 14 meeting.

The school board approved a proposal to increase the budget set at 61.855 mills, which is a slight increase from the 2013-14 budget of 61.050 mills. Jacobs said that there was a slightly lower valuation for the school district and lower collection rate.
“The overall budget looks good,” said Jacobs.
A budget hearing will be held at 5:50 p.m. on Aug. 11.
The Ellinwood Recreation Commission will collect the full levy allowed for recreation, which is three mills. The school district acts as a pass through for the commission. The three mills will be added to the 61.855 school mill levy assessment.

In final business, the board:
•Accepted the resignation of Troy Prosser as asst. middle school boys basketball coach; Bev Eddy as custodian and bus driver; and Penny Zimmerman as middle/high school activities secretary.
•Hired Andrew Wittenberg as high school science teacher, contingent on being released from his current contract; Kyle Kreigh as assistant softball coach and summer weights supervisor; Jodi Fullbright as middle school assistant volleyball; Sharon Sturgis as musical staging director; Kent Blakeslee as PDC Points Coordinator and Steve Oekle as Skills USA sponsor.