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South Hills

Fund seeks to enhance Baldwin-Whitehall technology

| Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, 3:51 p.m.

When Baldwin-Whitehall administrator Janeen Peretin proposed a four-year technology plan for the school district, board member Karen Brown knew the financial restraints.

With 40 years in education, Brown said technology is one of the first things to get cut. She decided to create a technology fund where community members can make a contribution to help supplement the technology budget.

Several years ago, property taxes were reduced.

“No one gives money back, so I decided to pay it forward,” said Brown, who started the fund with $200 that she saved in property taxes.

Funds are in the district budget this school year to upgrade the wireless infrastructure, primarily at the high school. Peretin, the district's director of information and instructional technology, said maintenance has not been done of the servers for two years.

She said improving the infrastructure will enable the proposed one-to-one initiative to take place at the high school in 2017-18. The one-to-one program would provide each student with their own electronic device. Peretin said she is considering Chromebooks because of their functions and price.

The infrastructure will be updated at J.E. Harrison Middle School in 2017-18 so the program can be in place for the 2018-19 school year.

The technology fund received a $2,271 donation in memory of George R. Morgan, a 1984 graduate of Baldwin High School and the son of George and Barbara Morgan of Baldwin Borough. The donation total was told to school directors during an emotional speech at the Nov. 9 board meeting by Kohlton Adomaitis, a sixth-grader at Harrison Middle School. Kohlton talked about his Uncle George playing football in high school and being a member of the stage band.

“He did a beautiful job,” said Barbara Morgan, Kohlton's grandmother. She said the donation was made by family members and friends.

George Morgan would graduate with honors from the University of Pittsburgh School of Informational Sciences. He worked at AccessIT Group Inc. in King of Prussia. Barbara Morgan said they didn't know what their son did at the company because “He said, ‘If I tell you, I would have to kill you.'”

George Morgan died unexpectedly at the age of 46 in October 2012.

“He lived 92 years in 46. He was well liked,” Barbara Morgan said.

The technology fund has nearly $3,000, Brown said.

The one-to-one program will enable students to learn in their classroom instead of going to a computer lab.

“We have to provide students with different types of technology,” Peretin said.

Brown said the fund is meant to help keep the technology plan moving forward.

“We hope it will start to grow. The budgets are so tight these days that we need to find other funding sources,” Brown said. “We're always looking for grants that might help, but qualifying is tough and there's a lot of strings attached, so you have to be careful.”

Jim Spezialetti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5805 or jspezialetti@tribweb.com.

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