Rochester Public School board approves 2015-2016 budget, discuss - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester Public School board approves 2015-2016 budget, discusses future of one-to-one iPad program

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RPS approves budget and slows down iPad One-to-One roll out RPS approves budget and slows down iPad One-to-One roll out
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- As the school year winds down, the Rochester School Board moves forward with a $255 million budget for next year. It is also in talks of pushing back the timeline in the one-to-one iPad program in case of future budget cuts to save public dollars.

"We spent several hours going over line item by line item with the board and shared with them the changes in personnel, the changes in different budgets, so tonight it seemed like a quick process, but that's been a lot of time with the cabinet," said Superintendent Michael Muñoz.

It is a bigger budget than last year, but board members are discussing pumping the brakes on the rollout of the hot button one-to-one iPad program.

"We're not saying we may never do that, and we're not saying we're giving up on the one-to-one, but we are going to not going to stick with the deadline of the '17-'18 school year," said Muñoz.

As a referendum looms in November, the district has decided to make clear that the public can expect a little extra cash in their pockets this year. While students wait for futuristic learning tools, the schools will perhaps start phasing out other technologies in the meantime.

"I'd like to sort of see a scale back maybe of things that a younger generation might find a little controversial like the expansion or replacement of desktop computers," said Board Member Richard Hinds.

There was another turn of events at Tuesday's meeting as board members rejected all bids made on the proposed half-million dollar Century High School concession stand. "We're going to spend some time reevaluating it," said Muñoz.

One-to-one and a concession stand may be in limbo for now, but these issues won't disappear. The district is working with the city to determine an appropriate solution to the Century High School concession stand repair, which does not require a demolition, but instead needs water and sewer line repairs. As for one-to-one, the board will announce its official decision on the timeline at a future meeting. The district is also waiting on word from St. Paul and the Legislature for education funding, as it could mean more dollars for schools, and less cut backs in the future for RPS.
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