Thursday, February 24, 2011

Facing Budget Cuts, CCS Asks For Help To Buy Whiteboards


With state-aid cuts looming, the Cooperstown Central school board has learned its 15 “whiteboards” are wearing out, and it has decided to appeal for private contributions to begin replacing them.
Meeting Thursday, Feb. 17, to start coming to grips with Governor Cuomo’s prospective $734,282 aid cut, the school board received a surprise from an ongoing technology review.
“We found we are really behind the eight ball with white boards, which is how a lot of curriculum is now being developed,” said school board President Tony Scalici.  “Our oldest white boards are now running out of juice.”
The whiteboards and associated projectors – the first were installed locally seven years ago – cost about $2,500 apiece, and Scalici said such entities as the Cooperstown PTO and the Cooperstown Foundation, formed for just this purpose – to find private money to supplement school taxes – will be among the entities approached for contributions.
A whiteboard is the high-tech replacement for blackboards.  Teachers can write on them (with black markers in place of white chalk), but can also project interactive lessons onto the screen-like surface.
In one elementary grade, Scalici said, a program that uses whiteboard technology is being used to teach reading.  The idea was to continue the curriculum in the next grade, but another whiteboard is needed to accomplish that.
Eventually, he said, all classrooms are likely to have whiteboards or something like them.
The prospective aid reduction – a 16.2 percent reduction in the total aid, about 4.5 percent of the district’s $16 million budget – was the announced focus of the evening.
But Scalici declined to talk about that other than to say that a lot of the discussion occurred in executive session, presumably because of the staffing implications.
The finance committee will present the first version of the proposed budget at a March 2 school board meeting, he said.

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