UASD board approves $664K in projects; prepares for technology ‘refresh’

The Upper Adams School District School Board on Tuesday approved more than $ 664,000 worth of largely maintenance projects and also gave the green light to sell nearly $100,000 in iPads and laptops for a technology “refresh.”

The board unanimously voted to use approximately $664,200 of capital reserve funds for several 2023-2024 projects. Board member Mikel Grimm was absent Tuesday.

At the board’s Feb. 7 meeting, Director of Athletics and Property Anthony Graham outlined the needs — several of which he said had been pushed back for a few years due to a lack of funds.

The capital projects list includes new pole vault mats, a vehicle for the district’s newly hired social worker, blacktop work at the elementary school, middle/high school roof restoration and water softener replacement, elementary school dishwasher replacement, middle school floor enhancements, fencing, and a new maintenance van.

The board voted to transfer $455,000 from the unassigned fund balance to the capital reserve fund to help cover these expenses.

To make way for a technology “refresh” for kindergarten through sixth grade, UASD plans to sell nearly $ 100,000 worth of iPads and laptops through a buyback program.

The board unanimously approved a buyback quote of $97,200 from SecondLifeMac for 490 seventh Generation iPads and 335 MacBook Air 2015 laptops, according to the board’s Tuesday meeting agenda. 

SecondLifeMac “partners with schools to create a sustainable technology budget by purchasing, refurbishing, and reselling their pre-owned Apple devices,” according to its website.

Director of Technology Joshua Cantrell said Tuesday there is a plan to “refresh” technology for students in kindergarten through sixth grade, including replacing laptops with iPads at the intermediate school.

Board member Gerald Walmer asked Cantrell for his opinion of the buyback offer, at $130 per iPad and $100 per MacBook.

“You’re getting a really good return on that buyback for those,” Cantrell said of the iPads. 

Cantrell said the MacBooks might have fetched a slightly higher price elsewhere, but noted the delivery and pickup fees would be covered through the buyback.

New iPads for the kindergarten through sixth grade refresh will cost more than the $97,200 received through the buyback sale, according to Cantrell. The technology refresh is expected to be discussed further at a future board meeting.

Board Vice President Tom Wilson praised the buyback program.

“The district, before I came along, committed to Macs, Apple products,” Wilson said. “This is one of the reasons why it has been so beneficial for us. The fact that you can sell these things back and get something for them — that has not been the case with other products.”

In other business, the school board approved a contract with RLPS Architects to move forward with the design of the locker and team room renovation at Biglerville High School. The locker and team rooms have not seen substantial updates in decades, according to district officials. 

The district awaits bids on construction. The renovation is expected to cost approximately $2.86 million.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Sarah Little announced her run for school board. She and her husband have lived in the district since 2005 and have two students attending Upper Adams. Little said she has more than 20 years of experience working in the mental health field.

The municipal primary will be held on May 16, 2023, and the municipal general election will be held on Nov. 7, 2023. Six seats on the Upper Adams School Board are up for election.

A parent returned to the school board to speak against a high school club. District parent Helen Jahn sought the disbandment of the Genders & Sexualities Alliances club at Biglerville High School. At the board’s January meeting, Jahn alleged the club violated school policy.

Superintendent Wesley Doll in an interview Tuesday said he and Principal Beth Graham met with Jahn after hearing her concerns. Doll said the club was not found to be in violation of school policy and that no further action would be taken.

Also on Tuesday, the school board approved:

  • Purchasing a 2023 Ford Transit Cargo maintenance van at $50,410.
  • The retirement of instructional support teacher Pam Shaffer from Upper Adams Intermediate School. Shaffer has worked at UASD for 22 years.
  • Hiring science teacher Holly Jones at Biglerville High School.
  • Hiring learning support teacher David Tolar at Upper Adams Upper Adams Middle School.
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Mary Grace Kauffman, freelance reporter, worked six years as a full-time reporter for newspapers in Pennsylvania and Maryland. She has covered topics including business, crime, education, government and features. Mary Grace has a bachelor's degree in communication/journalism from Shippensburg University. She resides in Adams County.

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