Skyline students in grades 5 through 12 will find an additional learning tool at their disposal when school starts in the fall.

Every student in those eight grades will be furnished with an iPad mini, said Superintendent Mike Sanders at the Board of Education meeting Monday morning.

The minis will be on a one-year lease program with Apple Financial Services. Funding will come from the textbook fund that currently has $80,000.

Teachers will meet during the summer to learn iPad functions. Teachers Kari Jones and Michael Nelson will assist technical coordinator Kim Ghumm with the learning process.

"The teachers are excited to have the students learn on that technology," Sanders said.

The district decided to go with iPad minis because they are easier for students to handle.

Students will be able to connect with a vast number of web sites that will provide access to resources that will enable the student's learning.

The Internet resources will provide students with the tools necessary to create more designs than they have in the past. It will also allow them to share and collaborate with other students outside the classroom.

"We need to develop these new technologies," Sanders said.

While the iPads will give students access to a wide variety of information, the district has security measures in place to assure that inappropriate sites will be blocked, Sanders said.

While no firewall it perfect, the district takes great care to provide the best protection it can for students using the Internet.

On occasion, the firewall will block a site that is legitimate for students to view. The system is designed so that a firewall operator can open those blocked legitimate sites on request from the district, Sanders said.

Firewalls do not always catch every inappropriate site. If a student finds an inappropriate site that is not blocked, they are to get off the site and report it to a teacher immediately.

The iPads have a padded cover for protection and are insured. If a unit is damaged the only cost is a $50 deductible.

Besides new tools at Skyline in the fall, students will also face a very small change in fees.

The only fee that is changing is for lunch. All lunch fees are going up a nickel.

The changes in lunch fees are necessary for the district to continue to get federal assistance to pay for lunch, Sanders said.

The federal guidelines mandate a minimum amount the schools must charge in order to receive federal assistance. If a district fails to make periodic changes to meet the minimum amount, federal funding will be cut off and the district would have to make a substantial increase in the cost of lunches.

In an expected move, the Kansas State Department of Education approved the expansion of Sawyer Academy to include students in grades K-5 so the Academy now available for all students in grades K-12.

The Board approved changes in faculty and staff positions:

Steve Little-head high school boy's basketball coach.

Jamie Long-middle school head volleyball coach.

Holly VanSkike-high school assistant cross country coach.

Brad Pagenkopf-driver's education.

Marla Stark and Alma Carrasco-Adventure Academy teacher aides.

Alma Carrasco-Adventure Academy driver.

Kayla Durall-bus driver.

Lisa Etsell and Kayla Durall-food service.