Last week’s board meeting was a busy night for Oxford school officials.
Oxford’s Board of Education approved expenditures totaling more than $300,000 from the district’s general fund budget to fund the purchase of a new bus, computers and other needs for the district at a May 22 meeting.
Of that total, $143,275 went towards the purchase of new computers and laptops for the district, along with an additional $80,372 for classroom-supporting software.
Oxford Virtual Academy (OVA) will receive a portion of those computers (Chromebook laptops) to help support the school’s rapid growth, according to Superintendent Tim Throne.
Over the last two years, OVA has shown the greatest increases in its student count when compared to other schools in the district.
Between the fall of 2016 and the fall of 2017, OVA showed an increase of over 70 Full-time equivalent students.
“With OVA’s growth, we needed to address that, as well as the ongoing replacement cycle of computers for their students. That’s a necessity for them,” Throne told this reporter in a later interview.
The district purchased over 200 Chromebooks to be used by students in grade 9-12 classrooms.
Thirty-five of those computers and laptops will also be distributed at various locations throughout the district, according to Throne.
Some of those devices will replace outdated ones while others will accommodate new staffing positions which are being added to the district– including an additional social worker and an elementary director of curriculum.
The purchase of a used mini-bus was also approved that night for $34,250. The vehicle will replace an older mini-bus within the district and will be used to transport students with special needs, according to Transportation Supervisor Ann Weeden.
The installation of a new irrigation system for the Oxford High School was also approved for just over $66,700.
The irrigation system which waters the lawn surrounding OHS was recommended to be replaced last year, according to Throne, due to acidic water levels found within the current system.
All purchases are expected to be installed by the start of the 2018-19 school year.