Board grills Underwood on e-books - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Board grills Underwood on e-books

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Superintendent of public education Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood was pelted with several questions from members of the Guam Education Policy Board last night, who wanted an update on various outstanding issues.  With an entire school year gone by and midway through the summer the Department of Education still has yet to finalize a new contract for the interim JFK campus in Tiyan with Core Tech International.

"The issues that we have yet to request are the additional request from the school - for example, the Internet connection, the library and also the modernization of the science labs.  Those three items are actually point of discussion because Core Tech is not willing to pay for those or include it in the lease.

GEPB members meanwhile also wanted an update on the status of textbooks as well as high school language arts e-books.  Dr. Underwood is hoping to implement the e-books when new computers are purchased with ARRA funds. Dr. Underwood admitted though the language arts e-books won't be on Guam until the start of the New Year, saying, "Here are textbooks that exist in the schools, but it's not the newest adoption, so for the most part, part of this is really a funding issue, so in fact we're just glad we have $1.1 million from the ARRA that we can use for the e-books.  But for the most part we're really short in terms of the appropriations for the textbooks for all our students and especially for language arts."

Board member Dr. Lee Meadows continued to ask Underwood for an update on the textbooks, wanting to know further as to when the computers for students and e-books would be purchased, delivered and ready to go online.  "I'm back to my original question, what is our realistic timeline how many computers are we getting when will they get here, and is the proper networking set up, the network for thousands of computers is not trivial at all?  And what is our timeline on that?"  Replied Underwood, "I need to get back to you on the specific timeline, I'm giving you a general projection of what I had articulated and wanted all of this to come in.  I need to go back to the committee to and to the specific division as far as how long it will take."

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