Bear Lake Board of Education approves technology upgrades

BEAR LAKE — Students in the Bear Lake School District will be working on new technology next year following action taken by the board of education on Wednesday.bear-lake-lakers-200x167

School officials worked with Manistee Intermediate School District Technology director Roy Anciso on the purchase of 231 4GB Ram Chromebook laptops and 60 32 GB Apple 6th Generation iPads  for the 2018-19 school year. The purchase also included a three year AppleCare warranty and cases for the iPads to bring the total purchase price to $81,895.

The iPads will be used by the kindergarten and first grade students and the Chromebooks will be utilized by the remainder of the grade levels.

Bear Lake Superintendent Marlen Cordes told the board that there is plenty of good news that goes with the purchase.

“Roy tells us the processor on these machines is even faster than on the other ones,” said Cordes. “So it is not only the best bargain it, is the best computer according to Roy.”

He added that they will be selling the current machines being used by the students at the end of the year.

“Diamond Assets is willing to buy back our other iPads and MacBook Airs,” said Cordes. “They are going to give us $240 apiece for the the 93 MacBook Airs, so if anyone wants them it would cost $240. For our iPads we have 30 iPads3s that they are going to give us $48 each for, and for 30 iPad Air1s they are going to give us $96 apiece.”

Cordes said that will give the district about $26,640 in buybacks and that money will be taken off the purchase price of the new technology.

“So when it is all said and done we are looking at spending $55,255 after the buyback,” said Cordes  “We originally estimated a purchase of $85,000 which was close to the $81,000, but at that time we didn’t take into account the buyback money.”

Board members approved by a 6-0 (board member Greg Babinec was absent from the meeting) vote a request not to spend more than $60,000 on the purchase.

Cordes also gave the board an update on the gym floor improvements that are also being done with that bond money.

“Last month we approved the quote from Floor Care Concepts of Wyoming, but when I met with them again in the lower elementary gym it seemed like a shame that we were going to have new bleachers and a floor and the baseboard trim looked so bad,” said Cordes. “They can fix that for $1,898 and we have the money to fix it,so I am recommending we do it and have a nice new baseboard all the way around.”

The board agreed to make that improvement on a 6-0 vote.

Board members were also given an update on masonry work that is needed to complete the roof project that was also part of the bond project.

“Our construction manager Gary Buren said they are soliciting bids from four restoration companies and should be meeting with them on May 24 to review the scope of work,” said Cordes. “We plan to have the bids back by June 4 with work to start ASAP after the contract is awarded.”

Cordes also brought to the board a proposal to offer space to the Manistee Intermediate School District Emotionally Impaired Classroom if needed.

“Right now it is housed at Kennedy Elementary School and the county has only one or two students in it,” said Cordes. “The ISD was looking at cuts and maybe doing some flow back money to the local districts, but we didn’t want to do that. By law we can only put the grades that were in that building or a one grade difference, so being in Kennedy really restricts it.”

Cordes said there isn’t any guarantee that Bear Lake would get the room at this time. Board members approved the concept that  they would be willing to host the room if the space was needed. If it does happen it would mean an additional $10,000 in revenue.

The board also heard that the snow days the district went over the six day limit, but the district applied for a waiver and it has been approved by the state. The last day of school has been set for June 8.


Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at

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