Burnsville-Eagan-Savage secondary students may see a boost in their GPAs next year, without hitting the books any harder.

The school board voted to give an extra one-tenth of a point to all ‘minus’ grades — A-, B-, C- and D- — awarding 3.7 points for an A-, for example, instead of 3.6.

Principal Dave Helke and the board did some research, and realized that most metro-area schools give students the higher value, resulting in higher GPAs.

“One one-thousandth, one one-hundredth of a point can really make the difference between making a cut and not making a cut,” he said.

The new value will be given beginning in the fall.

“So, is this retroactive back to 1985?” joked Jim Schmid, board chairman. “OK, I’ll take that as a no.”



St. Paul iPad plan to cost up to $5.5 million

The first year of a two-year plan to lease iPads for all St. Paul students could cost up to $5.5 million, a district official said Wednesday. The two-year total would be about $8 million.

The school board is expected to vote on the lease agreement Tuesday.

Matt Mohs, the district’s chief academic officer, said students at nearly half of the district’s schools could expect to have iPads by early next year. Getting the iPad effort rolling in 2014-15 would require the district to lease 28,000 iPads for students and teachers, plus an additional 1,400 laptops for teachers, Mohs said.

If approved, he said the funding would come from a $9 million-per-year technology fund approved by voters in 2012.



Absent board member to ask for a substitute

Since his appointment to the board of a west metro school integration district, John Solomon has been missing in action more often than not.

Minutes show that he missed 18 of 26 meetings since he was named Brooklyn Center’s representative to the West Metro Education Program, which runs the arts-focused FAIR schools in Minneapolis and Crystal.

Solomon said this week that he’s planning to ask the Brooklyn Center board, of which he is a member, to name a replacement.



Barton parents want scoop on new leader

The Minneapolis district is getting blowback from parents at Barton Open School about the hiring of a new principal.

The discontent arises from the timing, the lack of school participation and lack of information about the new principal’s background. The district filled the job with unusual speed — a mere three weeks.

The district’s announcement that Paul Scanlon would be Barton’s new principal wasn’t e-mailed to parents until around 7 p.m. Monday, hours after the news was posted on its website. That left parents scrambling to Google him, according to Julia Paulsen Mullin, co-chair of the school’s leadership council.

Scanlon is taking on Barton’s specialized open-education program as a brand-new principal. In fact, he’s not licensed as a principal yet, although district spokesman Stan Alleyne said the paperwork for that is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

That’s unsettling to parents who wonder whether Scanlon has any experience with open-school programs.