As Lodi Unified School District prepares to allow students at all of its schools to take Chromebooks home with them next school year, the board of education voted unanimously Tuesday night to increase library media services at those schools.

“I think this is a great idea,” said Board Member George Neely. “I’ll support it.”

For grades seven through 12, library media assistants (LMAs) — currently part-time employees — will be employed for an additional hour each day to extend services before and after school.

“We’re asking to increase their positions to be full time,” said Lisa Kotowski, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

As the district rolls out its 1:1 Take Home program, students may need to swap out Chromebooks before school if the device is not working, or check out a Chromebook each day if they choose not to participate in the program.

For kindergarten through sixth grade, LMAs will help with entering fines and the Chromebook Care Plan information, Kotowski said in a Monday email, as well as checking out the Chromebooks at the beginning of the year and checking the devices in at the end of the year.

“Currently, the elementary sites receive only four days a week of LMA services,” Kotowski wrote in the email. “This action would provide (the) sites (with LMA) services five days a week.”

According to the proposal, the district will have to pay an estimated $30,260 for grades seven through 12 and $16,860 for kindergarten through sixth grade.

Although he supported the proposal, Board Member Courtney Porter asked who would be responsible if a Chromebook were lost or damaged.

“The students and families would be liable for the item,” said Leonard Kahn, LUSD’s chief business officer.

Debra Ladwig, president of the local California School Employees Association chapter, expressed concerns that LMAs at the elementary school level are still part-time employees and may not have enough time to handle the increased workload.

“I really think we need to look at what services you’re expecting and what’s going to be needed to provide that service,” Ladwig said.

Michelle Orgon, president of the Lodi Education Association, said several elementary schools experienced problems during the pilot program and encouraged the board to explore ways to address those problems.

“I’ve heard from elementary teachers that there were hiccups, and I think we need to look at what those hiccups were,” Orgon said.

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