Highfalutin Hatrick Strikes Again!

By Loudoun Insider

Un-frigging-believable!  As John Stevens helpfully points out on his blog, the School Board was to have a consent agenda item on tonight’s meeting agenda to spend $1.7 MILLION on more of those goddammed white boards!!!  Can anyone explain to me why this is a good idea in the worst governmental budget crisis in ages???


Comments

  • Rob Iola says:

    Here’s the update:
    Update at 5:54 pm:
    I’m sitting in a meeting of the Finance committee where we had discussion of this matter and asked questions of staff. We will discuss it again in the full board meeting later this evening. The funds are federal funds that come with very specific restrictions.

    The funds must be for one-time expenses (not ongoing commitments such as raising salaries).

    The funds must improve student achievement for students with disabilities.
    Purchase of assistive technology is recommended (though not required) by the federal government to meet the other criteria
    Because 63% of students with disabilities are included in regular education classrooms, the regular education classrooms are eligible for the technology. The technology then benefits not just students with disabilities but also general education students.
    The funds requested by the administration will be used for purchase and installation of the devices themselves but also for training in how to use them.

    The electronic whiteboards come with speakers and a remote microphone for use by the teacher. The use of this audio assistive technology has been shown to improve the achievement of elementary school students, something I don’t think we can say about the whiteboards. If this is approved, and I suspect it will be, I hope that teachers will adopt use of the audio assistance.

    If you have ideas of what would be better than whiteboards and still meet these criteria, please let the Board know.

    So what do you suggest (other than visiting vitriolic comments on the SB)?

  • Rob Iola says:

    And OT, can Huck survive Clemmons?

  • BlackOut says:

    The LI whiteboard reputation is out of date. These boards have been in use for over five years now and have shown great usefulness amongst the teacher/student community. They are a timesaver, and very efficient at leveraging technology to deliver quality classroom instruction. As there use has increased so has their effectiveness. I’ve seen these boards used first hand numerous times. Unless you have actually seen one, used one, or observed one being used you’re just bitchin to be bitchin.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    They may be the best thing since sliced bread, but the county is f-ing broke!!! If this is federal tax dollars, that just makes me more furious with all the never-ending deficit spending going on there.

  • BlackOut, I’ve seen them first hand. They just are not necessary in every classroom. Great in the math disciplines. Not worth it in other subject settings in a budget crises.
    .
    If the funds are earmarked in some way, then there are limitations on “taking advantage” of it. I hope the whiteboards are made in the States. I’m not really a fan of my tax money heading out of the country.

  • BlackOut says:

    edmund, fair enough comment. BTW, where is your computer made? Just askin’

  • BlackOut says:

    I have seen them used very effectively in government classes where the teacher used multi-media capabilities to facilitate a discussion about the media and how they cover Presidential elections. It was a historical lesson starting with the Kennedy/Nixon debate through Obama. Kids were very engaged. And frankly, I was inspired to see students interested and opinionated about the subject. Excellent use of the white board.

  • Lovettsville Lady says:

    I would like something other than anecdotal personal observations that these things are great.

    How about they use the money to lower class sizes for those with disabilities? Very small classes have been proven to increase achievement for students with disabilities and those without disabilities. Lowering class size for students with disabilities would also would lower class size for ALL students.

  • BlackOut says:

    edmund, best I can tell they are made in Canada. Here’s what I found about SMART technologies:
    .
    Founded in 1987, SMART is a private company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with offices in Germany, Japan, China, New York City, Chicago IL and Washington DC. Most of SMART’s products are assembled in Canada.

    In 1992, SMART formed a strategic alliance with U.S. computer giant Intel® Corporation. This alliance resulted in joint product development, joint marketing efforts and Intel’s equity ownership in SMART. Today, SMART employs more than 1,000 people. SMART products are sold through dealers across North America and through distributors in more than 100 countries.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Lovettsville Lady, one advantage I do see to them is that all material is interactive with the school website, and the teacher’s own webpages, so that material they enter is available online in the same format.

    Kids who miss a day (or parents anyday) can visit the webpage and see the lesson (basically take the lesson), find all homework, print out worksheets, etc.

    I’m not arguing for the expenditure, but I see the advantage in having the material presented and available in that format.

  • Michael says:

    How many whiteboards do you get for 1.7M. At 5k a board I come up with 340 wb’s. Thats a lot of classrooms….sounds like an over-order, or padding his budget perhaps…I agree w/ LI, Hatrick has no respect for the taxpayer and he should be replaced by someone who can better manage the boutifulk resources he already has.

  • Michael says:

    bountiful

  • FedUp says:

    “They are a timesaver, and very efficient at leveraging technology to deliver quality classroom instruction. As there use has increased so has their effectiveness…”
    *
    If they do make teaching easier, then the teachers should be able to handle larger class sizes, which would offset the costs of these things and maybe more.

  • G. Stone says:

    I have seen the magic boards in use at back to school night. Based on the costs, marginal benefit and our current budget situation, they are a waste.
    LI said it, we are broke ! We don’t have a pot to piss in and still these Educrats can’t find the spine to kill this wasteful expenditure.

    When you are broke you buy those things you MUST have not the things it would be really NEAT to have. This is a a prime example of how this School system grew beyond our means. They have a system layered with way to many wants amongst the needs. They then threaten to cut back or cancel the needs the moment you suggest spending reductions in the face of budget deficits.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    Micheal, I seem to recall the cost per White board being higher, or maybe the installation bumped it way up. It was on a discussion from a year ago here on TC.

    WB’s at the elementary level seem to be a waste of money from what I have seen. I have seen the WB’s at BTS night at the middle school level and the teachers think it is really cool to SHOW the parents how to find their email address and class website from the school website. Woo-hoo! Aside from that, I hear my daughter say the WB’s are “really cool”. I’m sure they are cool, but again – the cost/benefit is questionable, at best.

    I concur, we are broke. Stop the madness.

  • BlackOut says:

    LL, if you are looking for facts on how much a white board costs you ain’t gonna find it here at TC.

    FedUp, good point, technology can certainly help with teaching additional children in a class.

  • BlackOut says:

    LL, if your impression of the usefulness of a white board is limited to what you see at BTSN then you’re missing a lot. Ask your daughter more questions.

  • Michael says:

    LL – I did a quick search on-line and they go for about 1,500 – 3k per white board – now if they are paying more than 5k they are getting ripped off, but this would not surprise me based on how much they are willing to overpay for land… I think a few at each school would be enough (science/math/computer lab, thats it), but not every classroom.

  • G. Stone says:

    ” Ask your daughter more questions.”

    Here lies the problem. Some want to continue to allow the children to decide spending priorities. It is time the grown ups take over. It is time to allow those who passed 10th grade economics into the room.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    G took the words right out of my mouth.
    *
    BO, I did ask my daughter more questions, and from what I ascertained it was a lot of wow factor that isn’t necessary for MS level learning. If you are one to believe that throwing money at a classroom for all the technology in the world “for the children” then you will be behind the WB’s 100%. I am of the opposite opinion, given the current financial mess in the county – let’s start thinking like grownups and not let the “gee, cool” factor from the kids and certain adults cloud the discussion. If you witnessed a really groovy discussion in a HS class, I am wondering why this really groovy discussion can’t be had without the WB’s. Plus, where are the increased academic performance results from 5 years of fantastic WB instruction here in Loudoun? Show me the numbers.
    *
    Michael, Installation was a key cost in the WB’s. Overpaying would not surprise me in the least.

  • BlackOut says:

    Don’t get ridiculous gutter Stoner. Besides I’d say you need more than a passing grade in 10th grade economics to figure out the complexity of this budget crisis. There in lies your assumption problem.
    .
    On a different note, schools are required by statute to provide the same level of service to special need children as they do others. Apparently, this funding source allows that to be met without taking money from county coffers.

    Additionally, debating already purchased white boards is really not productive. We should be debating other areas for savings, most of the white boards if not all of them are already deployed. Especially when the referenced expense is not a county expense but a grant. Anyone who passed 10th grade economics should know that..

  • BlackOut says:

    LL, what was the installation costs? You seem to weigh heavily on that assumption. Or are you just going on heresay?

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    BO, I am going on what I remembered from a link (installation) and if I have the time I will look it up.

    Do you have increased academic performance statistics attributed to WB usage for the past 5 years in Loudoun County?

  • BlackOut says:

    LL, I am not aware of any performance stats available that can be directly attributed to the WB usage. What is available on the big picture is a significant increase in academic achievement amongst students in Sterling. Park View just won a national award as a breakthrough school. Not to shabby. The article below attributes the achievement to numerous things, no reference to white boards. I have heard second hand of the white boards being leveraged for students with English as a second language as translation vehicle. It would be interesting to know if Park View leveraged them for this. Sounds like a lot of credit goes to the Principal. I would imagine she used every tool available to her.
    .
    http://www.leesburg2day.com/articles/2009/12/01/schools/9462pvhsrecognition113009.txt

  • Michael says:

    LL – each school has facilities employees, they should be able to install as part of thier job…again, I think this is the over-budgeting/padding of the budget. I’m sure these dollars are shifted around as well, and doled out to supporters of the Das System…

  • BlackOut says:

    LL, I think your memory may be correct but the source of your fact is off. No way these things cost thousands per to put in.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    BO, you’re the one who is so tight with DuPree and Hatrick – I’m sure you can get these numbers quicker than any of us.

    As many have pointed out, this is a want, not a need. And just because its federal money doesn’t make it any better in my opinion – it just shows how out of control federal spending is.

  • Ric James says:

    So, LI, you’re suggesting that the School Board send the money back to Washington? If not, and considering the restrictions which apply to how the money can be spent, what *are* you suggesting?
    .
    And don’t get wound up about this, I’m really asking and I really want to know.

  • Tom Seeman says:

    G Stone has it right. Both the federal and Loudoun governments are facing a budget crisis that is going to hit all of us like a ton of bricks, but no we must have electronic whiteboards. Nothing less will do.

    Sigh.

    Regarding the federal funds, the money never have been allocated to us or anyone else in the first place. The federal government has no business giving any locality money for schools unless the locality is poor or was just hit by a natural disaster.

    But instead we have the absurdity of the wealthiest county in the country receiving federal money for electronic whiteboards, and Loudoun certainly hasn’t been hit with any natural disasters. If we really think that our students with disabilities need these things then we should tax ourselves for the money.

    Here’s how it works: the federal government taxes Loudoun citizens, then turns around and gives the money right back to us, and some people on this thread – Blackout – act like it’s money from heaven. No, it came from your own back pocket. And it came from a federal government that’s already spending us into oblivion.

    So should we give the money back? It’s tempting, but they’d just give it to another locality to spend on something similar. So you see that it’s all a big game, a contest, in which localities vie for a big pot of money. The way it’s played is to try and get more than you pay in.

    What we need to do is put an end to this entire process, and we can start by eliminating the federal Department of Education. It was created by Carter as a reward to the teachers unions, and has caused trouble ever since.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Ric, Tom summed u p much of my feelings on the matter. So much waste occurs in the pathway from our wallets to the DOE and back again. But of course we may as well take it now that they’re handing it out. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. I think LCPS got off in the wrong direction in the first place with these ridiculous white boards that admin loves so much. As I’ve stated before I have no0 kids in LCPS so I don’t know enough about where the money may be better spent. But I do know that LCPS spends too goddammed much money. MY money.

  • Tom, a certain entertainer put it exactly that way some time ago…and it still fits the occasion today. “They’re bribing you with your own money”.
    As to those EXTRA whiteboards being hoarded in certain closets within the schools (they were indeed purchased to blow the budget in order to demand more next year)— they’ve joined those huge allotment of big screen TV’s that are still in the boxes, because they were used to blow the budget last time around.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    Tom, excellent post. Quite frankly, my kids can and will learn from a chalk board just as well as a WB. What do football coaches say? Let’s get back to basics….. seems to fit here too.
    *
    I can’t find the numbers I am remembering for WB installation, searched last night. Interesting that LCPS is stuffing closets with WB’s and TV’s – but that is part of the game too.

  • BlackOut says:

    Monk, prove it! Or you are just adding to the TC urban legends of what goes on in the school system. You see how LL immediately assumes it’s true? If we are going to get anywhere with determining the budget and cutting it, it has to be based on facts not made up stuff or heresay, or “stuff I think I remember”. I can here LL six months from now saying, “ah, ya they have a whole collection of wb and big screen TVs stuffed in a closet somewhere, those scoundrals”. None of it more than a TC legend.

  • G. Stone says:

    The process of Nitwittery.

    The feds tax Mr and Mrs Smith of Loudoun County One dollar. After skimming 25 % of that dollar off the top to grease the skids at an agency we don’t need, that being the Federal Dept of Education, they turn around and send Seventy Five Cents back to Loudoun County Public Schools to buy white boards we don’t need. All the while the local Government in Loudoun County is contemplating raising personal property taxes somewhere between eight and fifteen percent for a second year in a row in order to combat a 187 million dollar deficit.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    BlackOut, I’d like to see some proof of those specifics item too–that there are “EXTRA whiteboards being hoarded in certain closets within the schools (they were indeed purchased to blow the budget in order to demand more next year)” and a “huge allotment of big screen TV’s that are still in the boxes, because they were used to blow the budget last time around”.

    Links Dean, to either a county report, budget line-item, or news story, preferably all three, since that would surely be news and I don’t remember seeing the expose’ on it. I also don’t remember seeing anybody screaming bloody murder about it before now, which I tend to think surely would have happened if it were documented somewhere.

    I am prepared to believe I missed it.

    How many extra whiteboards, and how many big screen TVs, purchased what years, and stored where?

    Thanks!

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    Oh, stuff it BO. It’s not rocket science to know that every level of government HAS to spend the previous budget for fear of a “cut” in the following year. It would not surprise me the least if LCPS had purchased all kinds of equipment last budget cycle then claimed poverty, it is what the professional Educrats do on a yearly basis in every jurisdiction in every state.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    G. Stone just explained Obama’s Stimulus Program. What a deal!

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Loudoun Lady, I agree that SOP for any government department is spending in order to justify allocation for spending.

    dean made specific large statements about specific large items–whiteboards have been a huge controversy since they were first proposed and purchased.

    I tend to think it would have been big news if boxes and boxes of them were squirreled away because they were nothing more than an excuse to spend, along with lots of big screen TVs.

    If the motivation was to seek funding for costly items, wouldn’t it make more nefarious sense to somehow launder the money into other columns, rather than actually PURCHASING large electronics and storing them?

    That way they don’t HAVE the money, which is the stated object of the overstock-and-stor scenario.

    really, if this happened, please post the links.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    Barbara, Are you saying the LCPS launders money? I say, woman!

    We’ll see what Monk comes up with.

  • G. Stone says:

    “Besides I’d say you need more than a passing grade in 10th grade economics to figure out the complexity of this budget crisis. There in lies your assumption problem.”

    Again you tie yourself in a knot in order to escape the obvious,or should I say avoid the obvious. It is better to proclaim the problem too complex than to make tough decisions required to solve the problem. Deficits require spending cuts. Yes cuts.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    I’m not the one saying it, Loudoun Lady. I’m asking the person strongly implying it to provide some links to back up his very specific examples.

  • BlackOut says:

    Thanks for the support Barbara. Come on Monk show us where the secret LCPS “Best Buy” is. Where be this cache of squandered assets?

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    You’ve got a good point BlackOut, and I’m honestly curious.

    It doesn’t make sense to me to actually buy things for the purpose of “having more money” if the money is tied up in electronics in boxes.

    What, is it some secret fencing scheme?

  • Michael says:

    Bottom line: A whiteboard is not going to make any kid smarter – so why is the gov. spending 1.7M on them? I put this 1.7M (which adds up) in the waste and taxpayer abuse category. Fraud seems a stretch, but if monk can find those xtra wb’s we will include this as well.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    I think it’s a stretch too, Michael, especially “boxes and boxes” of high ticket electronics warehoused in closets, for the purpose of getting more cash.

    Maybe there is proof, and I’d love to see it.

    And maybe it is something being looked at by the FBI and SCC, with no one intimately connected being willing to speak on the record because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

  • Armadillo says:

    BO showed us his ‘skill’ with typing a 5-letter word into Google with his Nov30 post on SMART Technologies… “09 Founded in 1987, SMART is a private company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta…”

    One little problem, Blockhead Out-of-touch shows us all, AGAIN, while he professes to know something, he clearly does NOT. LCPS doesn’t buy Smart Technologies products. The boards they buy are Promethean. http://www.prometheanworld.com/ Here is a pricelist: http://www.peppm.org/Products/promethean/price.pdf
    As long as you stay on your high horse, you bring it all on yourself bub!

    An interesting sidebar story: A few years back a school PTO did a fundraiser (Ashburn/Landsdowne area school) to purchase one or more of these boards for their school and negotiated what they thought was a competitive price from the vendor but LCPS refused to accept the offer, stating they had to purchase them. What was that about?

  • BlackOut says:

    Well here we sit with this post about to roll off the main page into the abiss of this user unfriendly TC interface.
    .
    And nothing but crickets from Monk.
    .
    So we start this thread with a “the sky is falling post” from LI incorrectly chastising LCPS and Hatrick from spending 1.7 million of county money on wb. Turns out a quick phone call could have fixed that error, but he rolls with a rumor. Then we have LL dredging up a dream of millions being required to “install” the whiteboards. (No reference, no proof, no facts just a “memory”) Then we close out this rumor room with claims of hidden wb and big screen TV treasures being horded.
    .
    Folks I’ve said this before if there is to be any credibility to efforts to fight the challenge of this school budget and the goal of finding legitimate cuts then you need to get some street cred going or this is nothing but bitchin to be bitchin.

  • BlackOut says:

    Get a thicker skin Armadillo or get better game. As I said, “best I can tell they are made in Canada. Here’s what I found about SMART technologies”. If you read above that post it was in response to Sir Edmund’s question about where these board were made. Now if you really want to help the debate figure that out. Frankly, it’s not a big concern for me, but I am sure edmundburkenator would appreciate the research.

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