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SMACKOVER — The Smackover-Norphlet School Board approved the purchase of several computers during its school board meeting Monday night.

Computers at the elementary and high schools were replaced last year. Chromebooks, Google-powered laptops schools use during the ACT Aspire exam, can be updated for up to four years. Previously the computers had a three-year lifespan, district technology director Jana Reynolds said.

“It’s a total of 89 Chromebooks. Most of those, 59 of them, will be at Norphlet Middle School,” district Superintendent Dave Wilcox said. “Thirty of them will be replacing the computer lab at Smackover Elementary. It’s time to replace them. All of this stuff was in the budget already approved this year. There’s 14 teacher laptops to be purchased for Smackover Elementary.”

Reynolds said the district has done a “super job” of taking care of the Chromebooks. Technology upgrades have been staggered out “so it just doesn’t hit (the district) all next year.”

“What you see in this purchase order is 80 percent of Smackover Elementary,” she said. “We’ve got to have a business lab. We’ve got to have a Virtual Arkansas lab. We’ve got one extra lab at the high school. It stays booked all the time and then we’ve got Chromebook carts that are out all the time. They use it. It’s not like we’re buying it and it’s just sitting there.”

Smackover-Norphlet School Board members also approved Wilcox’s recommendation to buy a digital sign, which costs nearly $25,000, that’ll be installed near the Smackover campuses.

More than $14,000 "of that will be grant money from the school-based health center and the other remaining balance of that, $10,500 roughly, will come out of our incentive funds,” Wilcox said. “This will be a marquee sign similar to what’s in front of the school there in Norphlet. It will be placed somewhere kind of where the oil field equipment is out there.”

Board member Damon Goodwin said Wilcox should consider the sign’s placement because digital signs “are very, very bright at night” and shouldn’t shine directly onto surrounding houses.

“I know the one over at Norphlet, they put all kinds of information on there. Ya’ll do … a monthly word with the definition so the kids can see it when they pull up to school. Any kind of event going on it’s always on there (with) the time and the date. It’s pretty informative and it looks good,” Goodwin said.

The board approved the district’s 2018-2019 calendar, which was previously approved by the majority of licensed and certified personnel. It sets the first day of school on Aug. 13 and the last day on May 24.

The school board also approved the district’s 2019-2020 proposed budget with a tax levy, a three-year extension of a financial agreement with First Security Beardsley, the employment contracts of two paraprofessionals and a LEA supervisor; and the renewals of all school administrators contracts for the 2018-2019 school year.

Because the Smackover-Norphlet School Board approved moving its meeting date to every second Tuesday, the next meeting is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. March 13 in the central office boardroom.

Brittany Williams may be reached at 870-862-6611 or Follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook @BWilliamsEDNT for updates on Union County school news.

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