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Mabton schools in need of modern technological tools

MABTON - Last night (Monday) the Mabton School Board was told it needs to refocus on its technological needs.

Mike Roberts, the district's technology director, said, "The core of the situation is the current budget covers the basics...like spyware, virus protection..."

He told the school board the educators do not have adequate technological tools to provide students with the level of education at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction's required tier of technology.

Student learning, too, said Roberts, is inhibited by the lack of updated technology in the schools.

"The state has cut funding per student," he shared, stating Mabton schools rely upon donor programs and Computers4Kids, as well as other programs for computers and other technological tools.

Problems arise when a computer system is incomplete and the school must purchase software or hardware to complete a system, according to Roberts.

Computers4Kids, he said, is another issue because it is dependent on donations from both public and private donations...nothing is guaranteed in regard to the systems donated.

For the 2008-09 school year Mabton schools had 575 computers. Roberts believes 561 computers are necessary to provide an adequate level of technology to the students and educators. Of the systems in place, he said more than 380 were considered "non-standard," and he believes that number will rise as the computers become more obsolete.

On average the computers the schools have acquired are four years old when introduced to the Mabton School District.

"It's time to meet OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction) standards with new technology," said Roberts.

He has all the documentation and cost analysis the school board would need if the board would like to further study the issue. He encouraged the board to conduct a study session on the issue to properly address the Mabton School District's technological needs.

"Let's use our resources wisely," Roberts urged.

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