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High school students may receive system-bought electronic devices

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Jalen Daoust looks at photos from the 9/11 terrorist attack on his iPad during his social studies class at Maumee Valley Middle School, where 78 students and nine on the faculty and the staff received the electronic devices this year.

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PERRYSBURG -- Within the next year or two, Perrysburg schools could purchase Apple iPads, laptops, or some other electronic device for every high school student.

The district will talk about whether to invest in new technology, which is estimated to cost $350,000 to $370,000 for the 1,400 students and 200 teachers at the high school, Superintendent Thomas Hosler said at a Dec. 19 school board meeting.

Perrysburg isn't the first school to consider bringing such technology into the classroom.

Students at Maumee Valley Country Day and St. John's Jesuit High School & Academy, two local private schools, got iPads this year as did students in Defiance City Schools.

Mr. Hosler, who visited Defiance earlier, said he saw students typing notes on their iPads, participating in class discussions by sending chat messages, and looking up questions online. He called the tablet "transformational."

"It was a tool students were using to fit their needs," Mr. Hosler said. "That's the tool our students need today."

Already, a fourth-grade class at Frank Elementary uses iPads as part of a pilot program begun earlier this year with about $15,000 from the permanent improvement technology levy. But buying new devices also becomes a pocketbook issue for school board members to decide.

At the meeting, school treasurer Matt Feasel said about new programs such as buying iPads, "There's a number of things that we need to be doing. But with resources continuing to dwindle, it becomes more difficult."

Already the district is dealing with declining property values that are expected to drop nearly 8 percent in the district in 2012, the first decline since 1982.

The district anticipates losing $279,647 from the schools' general fund, $123,565 from the permanent improvement levy, and $32,517 from the permanent improvement technology levy.

In 2008, voters approved a four-year emergency incremental tax levy, which by 2012, would allow the district to levy $7.5 million. That same year, the board set the self-imposed cap of 8.5-mills based on Perrysburg's growth projections.

To deal with revenue losses, the board eliminated the cap at the Dec. 19 meeting, so the school would not lose about $1 million in anticipated tax levy revenue.

Ultimately, most residents' property bills would still be lower in 2012, than in 2011, even though the cap is lifted, because of the decline in property values, Mr. Feasel said.

Contact Gabrielle Russon at: grusson@theblade.com or 419-724-6026.

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