Warsaw Schools Considers New Notification System

Purchases and bid awards reviewed by the Warsaw School Board Tuesday afternoon during its public work session ranged from around $17,000 for an automated notification system to over $600,000 for six buses.
The board will vote on the quotes at its regular monthly meeting Monday night.
Director of Buildings and Grounds Dirk Felger presented a quote for $41,335 for 2015 gym floor maintenance from Hammel Floor Service Inc. He said it was the lowest bid that came in.
He then presented a bid for $17,215 from Pioneer for concrete replacement on the west side of Lakeview Middle School and a quote from Ranger Materials for $48,307.50 for asphalt pavement replacement at Lakeview.
Another bid from Ranger Materials was for rotating three-year asphalt pavement maintenance at Eisenhower and Harrison elementaries and Lakeview. Total cost is $80,922.14.
Chief Technology Officer Brad Hagg presented a quote of $36,152.60 from vendor Gumdrop for cases for 1:1 iPad Minis. The cases will reduce the damage to the students’ devices.
Hagg said he was able to get a 40 percent discount on the cases and couldn’t find a better deal. 
In a 1:1 program, every student has a computer device like an iPad Mini for use in the classroom. This school year, all sixth-graders have the Minis. For the 2015-16 school year, students in grades sixth through eighth will have them.
Hagg then presented a bid of $16,752.65 from vendor School Messenger for an automated notification system.
He said School Messenger is the industry leader in automated notification systems and is used by a lot of districts in Indiana.
Warsaw Community Schools’ current provider has been cumbersome, Hagg said.
“To actually do a call in the morning, it’s a very cumbersome process, and to be completely honest, we’re not even sure it’s going to go when we push the button,” he said. “So, we are ready to move away from that product.”
The bid from School Messenger is identical to the old provider, he said, at a cost of $1.50 per student.
With this product, he said WCS has another option it can pursue with the development of an external app. On the app, parents would be able to change their notification preferences.
“We wanted an external app for a long time and this will be a great path to that,” Hagg said.
Cost for the app would be 85 cents per student.
“They have been great to work with,” Hagg said of School Messenger.
Hagg then presented on the three-year lease agreement with Apple for all of next year’s sixth-graders to have iPad Mini2s. The annual cost will be $56,201.68. The lease begin date is June 1, with an end date of May 31, 2018.
The 2015-16 sixth-grade class is extremely large with 585 students, Hagg said. For ordering the iPad Mini2s, he said they rounded that up to 600.
Along with the sixth-grade lease payment, the seventh-grade lease payment for 2015-16 will be $51,440 and the eighth-grade payment will be $66,864.25.   About half of those costs will come out of textbook rentals with the other half out of Capital Projects Fund. Cost to parents will be $45 per year for a seventh-grader, $48 for a sixth-grader and $60 for an eighth-grader. Next year’s seventh-graders will be in the second year of the lease agreement.
Hagg also presented a “worse-case scenario” to expand the 1:1 program into the high school for the 2016-17 school year. He said he’s still working on that plan. 
Since students can own their iPad Minis by the end of the three-year lease, by the 2017-18 school year, the ninth-graders and 10th-graders should own their Minis. That would leave lease payments for sixth through eighth grade and high school juniors and seniors.
The largest bid award the board will consider Monday is the bus replacement cost of $615,829 from Kerlin Bus Sales. The six buses include five conventional buses and one special needs bus.
Chief Financial Officer Kevin Scott said Tuesday that the bus replacement schedule calls for a seventh bus to be replaced this year but to do so would require money from the Rainy Day Fund. After board discussion, the board told him to replace the seventh bus with money from the fund.

(Story By The Times Union)