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Sonoma Valley schools map projects for next summer

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Next summer will bring another round of maintenance projects to the Sonoma Valley Unified School District.

At the Dec. 10, school board meeting, Deputy Superintendent Justin Frese told the board a list of projects has been compiled, but he won’t have a cost breakdown until possibly the January board meeting.

Among the plans, the district is going to add two new portable classrooms at Adele Harrison Middle School; replace four portable classrooms at the Sonoma Charter School; add a portable classroom at El Verano for the preschool; repair and remodel the kitchen at Dunbar; perform various roof repairs; do exterior and interior painting; replace and repair the heating and air conditioning systems; do classroom flooring and asphalt repairs.

“We’re in the process of planning for next summer,” Frese said. “We have a team working on a variety of projects.”

The district will be targeting lighting and painting issues.

While he didn’t have an estimated cost, Frese said a lot of the projects will be funded with the $5.6 million the district received from the state for going solar.

“We applied for money we had already spent,” he said. “Since the solar was a community funded modernization project, we got in line.”

The board also heard a report on the district’s Chromebook pilot project.

A Chromebook is a personal computer that is designed to connect to the Internet and use applications on the web instead of on the computer itself, and all information is stored on the “cloud” rather than in the machine.

The district will use one grade-level team from each elementary school to take part in the pilot program. The goal is to allow a small set of teachers to pilot integrating Chromebooks and technology into their curriculum and instruction. The program will run for two years.

Robert Curtis, the district’s curriculum and instruction director, told the board that the district will be supplying each of the elementary schools with 30 Chromebooks.

“We went with the Chromebooks over iPads because of the cost,” he said. The Chromebook is about half the cost of an iPad.

Funding for the Chromebooks will come from the $848,000 the district is receiving from the state to implement Common Core State Standards.

Curtis said the district will supply each teacher with nine Chromebooks and 12 hours of training between January and March.

Since the Chromebook is wireless, Frese told the board that there are about 30 wireless access points in each of the schools, so wi-fi wouldn’t be a problem.

In other business, the board OK’d the district’s Common Core State Standards spending plan. The district will receive $848,000 from the state that it has to spend over two years. But it can only be spent in specific areas – 70 percent for professional development, 20 percent for technology upgrades and hardware to support integration of technology and online assessments and 10 percent for instructional materials and supplies.

The funds may be spent in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 fiscal years.

The board also:

• Recognized Elias Antonio Casolla and Isabella Magnani as Dunbar’s students of the year.

• Heard an update on the local control accountability plan.

• And received a smarter balanced update.