Green Bay approves additional Chromebooks
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – Each Green Bay school district student will be equipped with Chromebooks at the start of the 2021-22 school year after trustees approved the purchase of an additional 6,500 Chromebooks last month.
“By the time the next school year starts, all students K-12 will have a brand new device,” Joshua Patchak, executive director of technology and information, said.
These are in addition to the 13,500 Chromebooks approved for purchase last fall to replace older devices, which the district needs to return to the leasing company this summer.
Patchak said the additional 6,500 Chromebooks completes the refresh of the district’s fleet.
Trustees awarded the purchasing contract of $1.9 million to Camera Corner Connecting Point for the 6,500 Chromebooks and services, which includes asset tagging, enrollment into the district’s domain and green packaging.
“If you’ve ever walked into Best Buy, or something like that, and bought a Chromebook, you pull it off the shelf and take it home,” Patchak said. “You have to take it out of that box, you have to unwrap it, and then you have to set it up to be ready to use. For use within our environment that is also going to include tagging it with an asset tag, associating that with a serial number, getting that into a database, activating the admin license and updating the (operating system). So all of that is going to happen offsite and they get repackaged into green packaging. So when they arrive, we pull the device, we pull the charger and we’re ready to go. For context, it takes our team probably about a week working non-stop to do 3,000 devices.”
He said the district is guaranteed delivery no later than Sept. 1.
The district will be adding these units to the same warranty service provider as the rest of its fleet to ensure the process remains smooth and concise.
Trustees also approved the contract for the Chrome OS Management Licenses for $188,500 to CDW-G of Vernon Hills, Illinois.
Patchak said both these expenditures will be reflected in the district’s budget this October.
Event workers compensation adjustments
The administration is proposing an increase in compensation for district event workers.
Currently, the hourly wage for employees working co-curricular events is $12, with a two-hour minimum.
According to a comparison document shared at the meeting, Green Bay ranks low compared to area districts and compensation hasn’t been changed since at least 2008.
“Over the last couple of years it was brought up that, or the perception was, we had a very low compensation for event workers, and we also had difficulty in finding workers for our different schools,” Tim Flood, administrator of district co-curricular planning, said. “I did a survey of District 4 schools, which are our area schools, and when we looked at the different schools, we were on the lower end of the hourly pay.”
Flood said if the district had increased the wage by 2% each year since 2008, the total increase would be approximately $3.12.
To get closer to that amount, and be more competitive, the administration is recommending an incremental increase of $1 per year for three years until the rate reaches $15.
Flood said an increase of $3 per hour would add approximately $28,433 to the total district’s activities budget.
Trustees were supportive of the change, but won’t officially vote on it until the June 14 meeting.
Tool and safety allowance adjustment
The administration is recommending adjusting the district’s annual allowance amounts for tool purchases for district trade workers.
The proposed allowance increases include:
• Painters and utility workers – $50
• Facility technicians – $100
• Engineers in secondary schools, maintenance mechanics and electronic technicians – $150
• U.B.C carpenters, I.B.E.W. electricians, U.A. plumbers, steamfitters and service steamfitters – $300
• Auto and truck technician/lead equipment-Truck Mechanic – $500.
Employees will need to provide an updated list of tools to the district annually.
The district will also pay up to $300 per school calendar year for the purchase of safety shoes and/or safety glasses or district-approved uniforms.
“We are just trying to bring this in line with what actual costs are,” Mike Stangle, executive director of facilities, said.
The administration is proposing revisions to the district’s telecommuting policy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The policy was first adopted in December 2019 to provide the opportunity for district employees to work virtually in limited circumstances.
Melissa Thiel Collar, the district’s legal counsel, said when the policy was adopted, no one ever envisioned a global pandemic would force most employees to engage in some form of telecommuting.
“We were ready for it, but we had no idea what telecommuting was going to look like during the COVID-19 pandemic, or any pandemic because no one had ever anticipated that happening,” Thiel Collar said. “So we are bringing forward revisions to the telecommuting policy from lessons learned over the last year, as well as where we can provide better flexibility to our employees and provide more nimble work environments during certain circumstances.”