Meadville Tribune

April 9, 2013

PENNCREST launches budget talks

By Mary Spicer
Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — PENNCREST School Board’s first formal discussion of the district’s 2013-14 budget will include a plan proposed by the district’s supervisors of curriculum and instructional technology. According to Andy Wheeling, supervisor of curriculum K-12, the idea “would break even and probably save money in the long run.”

The special meeting, which will include a review of the budget and any other business that may come before the board, begins on Monday at 7 p.m. in the district’s Administration Center board room, 18741 Route 198, Saegertown. The public is encouraged to attend.

Wheeling, whose Curriculum Department is responsible for developing a seven-year curriculum revision timeline and selecting new textbooks and other learning materials, among other things, introduced the idea with the observation that now that the state has decided on Common Core Standards, it’s time for the district to get back on a textbook rotation schedule.

With curriculum revisions in English and mathematics first in line, Wheeling and Jason Williams, the district’s supervisor of instructional technology, took a serious look at alternatives to textbooks.

The choice given in a brief demonstration during Monday’s school board work session is a combination of Apple TVs and projectors connected to high-definition televisions or smart screens in the classroom and an iPad Mini for each student.

The plan would include pre-loading textbooks on each student iPad at a maximum cost for any paid textbook now available of $14.99 per student per year, Williams said. Textbooks for grades one through 12 are now available through iTunes-U, a source that until this year was available only for college textbooks.

While the team is now investigating the option for grades seven through 12, Williams said that the district’s elementary schools are also part of the long-term plan.

According to Wheeling, the idea has already received positive reviews from the district’s curriculum committee and secondary principals. The next step, if the board gives a tentative go-ahead, will be to introduce it to the district’s secondary teachers.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at