Grant acceptance delayed

Published 11:12 am Friday, June 22, 2012

WINDSOR – The Bertie County Board of Education delayed the acceptance of a $750,000 grant during their meeting here Thursday.

The board members asked Chief Technology Officer Mark Samberg to provide an overview of the grant as well as the implementation requirements for their review before their next meeting July 3.

During Thursday’s called meeting, Samberg informed the board the school district had been approved for the grant by the Golden Leaf Foundation.

“On Friday we received notification that we have been awarded a $750,000 grant to provide every high school student in grades nine through 12 with a laptop computer along with the professional development to go with it,” he said.

Samberg said he would be on a conference call this week to discuss the grant implementation with Golden Leaf. He added that the full guide was more than 200 pages and contained strict implementation procedures. It will, he said, include details, dates, timelines, names and all other information about the grant.

“As much work as we’ve done, the real work begins now,” Samberg said. “We’re excited about the possibilities this affords to our students.”

Samberg said while the grant had been approved, it would likely be February before students received laptops. Golden Leaf, he said, will require professional development for teachers and administrators to make sure the laptops will be best utilized.

“They would like to see us engaged in professional development for six months before the laptops go out,” he said.

Samberg said the dissemination of the laptops would be different at all three high schools. He said there will not be one district implementation team, but rather one team at each of the three schools – Bertie High School, Bertie STEM High School and Bertie Early College High School.

The Technology Officer said the board would also have to review policies. He said the district would also look at network infrastructure, logistics, instruction and community development.

Board member Pamela Chamblee asked if the grant needed to be accepted immediately and fellow board member Alton Parker said he had not seen where the matching funds the district would come from.

Samberg said the grant did not have to be accepted during the meeting.

Chamblee said she needed to read all of the information before voting to accept the grant, including detailed plans.

“There will be someone else sitting in this seat when this happens,” she said. “To be fair to them I need to know what I am committing them to.”

Parker said he also wanted to have all the information and read it thoroughly.

The board asked Samberg to provide them with detailed plans for the implementation and to provide information about where the district’s matching money was coming from. He said he would get that to them by Friday.

The board members said they would take up the matter again at their July 3 meeting.