School Board approves technology position addition, increase

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on May 28 voted unanimously to increase a current information systems specialist position from .8 to full time, and add a full-time technician to begin work July 1.

The cost for the technician will be between $30,000 to $35,000, including benefits. There will be an additional salary of $8,500 for the specialist job, with benefits.

Board members in March, with the exception of Tony Valente, voted in favor of a technology purchase at a cost of $225,000. The purchase means that there will be a 3-to-1 ratio, or three students for every one device, during the next school year. Devices that had been approved for purchase totaled approximately 679 and included iPad Minis and Chromebooks.

Valente said that the board, upon approving the technology purchase, should have been informed of the need to pay for additional technology staff. He also questioned why the information was just now being presented to the board.

“This expenditure is coming down the pipe,” Valente said. “We’re already down the slippery slope.”

Valente also said that the situation puts him in a “pickle.”

“We’ve spent this revenue and we have to support it,” he said.

Asked whether technology support is needed at this point in time, Kaneland Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler said that “it’s a need now.”

Board President Cheryl Krauspe noted that technology support has been a need for a couple of years. According to a report by Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintendent for business, the School District has relied on college student interns for hardware and software questions in its schools. Interns have also helped provide teacher support to learn new technologies pertaining to items including laptops and LCD projectors.

Fuchs noted “challenges” with the intern approach, such as the district having to plan around students’ college course schedules, and employee turnover occurring every one-to-four years.

“We believe the additional support is necessary to ensure the successful use of technology throughout the district,” Fuchs wrote in the report.

As for the information specialist job, Fuchs noted in her report that the time required for this job increased “significantly” for tasks such as reporting demands by state and federal agencies, as well as technical demands of the PARCC assessment (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers).