Proposed change in PTO funding of technology

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Dear Ward Community,

 

The Ward PTO would like to share some important information about a proposed change in the PTO funding of technology across Newton elementary schools.

 

Currently, Newton Public Schools (NPS) rely substantially on PTOs to fund technology in their respective schools. To date, the majority of the technology at Ward has been funded by the Ward PTO including laptops, laptop carts and iPads.

 

NPS has established a "standard" list of the ideal technology make up in each school. Currently, it is then up to the individual PTOs and principals to determine how much fundraising and budgeting to allocate to purchase technology. Technology has always been a high priority at Ward and as a result, we are one of the few elementary schools at 100% of the "standard."

 

Because fundraising is done at the school level and some schools are able to raise more than others, there is a disparity in technology among Newton's elementary schools. There was a recent Boston Globe article on this subject:http://bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/west/2014/01/19/newton-pto-technology-spending-uneven-across-elementary-schools/eEWm7KsQFyR4r9FQM3eNMK/story.html.

 

The PTO Council Executive Board has spent considerable time this year addressing the issues of inequality in technology at the elementary school level. In order to attempt to level out the inequalities, the PTO Council Executive Board has developed a proposal to amend the equity policy that would change how technology is funded.

 

Essentially, the proposal states that PTOs would have a $25/student cap per year to spend on any technology. Currently there is no limit on technology spending. The proposal also states that schools can bank the spending for up to 3 years and can seek a special request from the Equity Board should they wish to exceed the cap for a particular reason. If you are interested, you can view the revised equity policy here;http://www.wardpto.org/files/attachments/Elementary%20Equity%20Policy%20Revised%202014-3-27.pdf

 

The PTO Council Board is asking all its members, that is, a PTO chair from each Newton public school, to vote on the proposal by April 16th.  The Ward School PTO will get one vote.  The School Committee will make the final decision on this matter but it is our understanding that the outcome of the PTO Council's vote will hold significant sway with the School Committee.  As our vote represents the Ward school community as a whole we are seeking your input on this important decision.

 

You are also welcome to attend Monday evening's (April 7) School Committee meeting to hear the PTO Council Executive Board officially present their proposal to the School Committee. The meeting will be held at the Education Center located at 100 Walnut Street in the Frazier Room, #210.

 

If you have any comments or questions please let us know via email atcindynhenry@gmail.com before April 11th so that we can compile the comments and vote accordingly.

 

Thank you,

Cindy Henry, Gail Fitzgerald, Alison Best - PTO Co-Chairs

 

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