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updated: 11/1/2013 6:27 PM

District 87 to discuss facilities plan, iPads for incoming freshmen

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Armed with feedback from four community forums, Glenbard High School District 87 officials will discuss a proposal to fund $35 million of a $100 million master facilities plan through a referendum question to extend expiring bonds.

The proposed improvements, to be done over 10 years, would include upgrades and additions to classrooms (particularly science labs), adding air conditioning at Glenbard East and West, and other mechanical upkeep.

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"We have some old, tired buildings that really need investment to keep them a strong community asset," Superintendent David Larson said.

The proposed renovations were first identified during a planning process that began in 2011.

The board voted unanimously in August to authorize the sale of $20 million in bonds to help pay for the capital improvements, with another $45 million in projected costs funded by annual district operating funds.

Voters would be asked to approve the remaining $35 million through a ballot question, likely in March.

Officials considered community feedback at their last board meeting and on Monday will look at extending existing bonds that if allowed to expire in 2017 would result in a tax reduction.

If voters reject the measure, the owner of a $265,000 home -- the median value in the district -- would pay $25 less in taxes annually.

A board vote on the proposal is expected later this year.

Also on the table is discussion of a proposal recommended by a district technology committee in March to put iPads in the hands of all incoming freshmen by the 2014-2015 school year.

With wireless access throughout all its buildings, Larson said the district is testing a number of classes, among them a program where students are allowed to bring their own devices if they own them.

Larson said teachers are integrating iPads into their daily routine and a plan is in place to lay out the professional development for each teacher.

While the district's feeder schools are at different places in integrating the computer devices, Larson said by the fall of 2015 half the students are projected to have experience using them in eighth grade.

"The key portion of the meeting is devoted to the educational innovative uses, but we're also looking at the cost," Larson said.

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