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The Texarkana, Arkansas, School District Board of Trustees approved the 2020-2021 budget and the purchase of 165 new teacher laptops in a regular meeting Thursday night.

The total operating budget for 2020-2021 will be approximately $33,327,666, an increase from the $33,279,907 budget in 2019-2020.

After exceeding last year's budget, some costs have been added to this year's budget that weren't on last year's. This includes $107,236 for an SIS data coordinator and $11,952 for website-school content.

The budget for workers' compensation has increased $35,000 from last year, while athletic maintenance has decreased by around $30,000.

One of the largest decreases from last year's budget was the cost for assistant principals, which is about $139,000 less than it was last year. And one of the largest increases was the budget cost for utilities, which went up about $90,000.

In other news from the meeting, many purchase bids were approved, the most notable of which was the purchase of 165 teacher laptops.

A quote for $114,422.96 was accepted from CDW-G for the computers, which have cameras and microphones and can be taken home for virtual teaching as needed.

These purchases will be funded by the magnet grant for the purpose of collaboration and curriculum development.

This grant will also fund the $11,449.03 from Vernier Software and Technology for updated Vernier lab equipment and the $32,250.33 from SoundTowne for better sound and audio equipment at College Hill Sixth Grade Academy.

The magnet grant is being used to purchase $16,999.58 for 17 Smartbus Wi-Fi bundles to increase internet access for students on bus routes.

It was stated in the meeting that activity of these devices can be tracked to block any unnecessary sites that students may be using that aren't school-related.

Funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will cover the $13,800 for 40 pallets of water from Mountain Valley until water fountains can be accessible, as well as $43,664.68 from Sandbox Sign Co. for 1,500 upgraded translucent desk dividers.

Last but not least, $84,239.75 was approved to renew pre-existing programs from Renaissance Learning and add MyOn digital book access for K-12.

Funding will come from Title I and ESA funds.

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