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The Lewiston-Porter School Board received a $70,000 check Tuesday night from perhaps its most famous graduate -- Daryl Johnston.

The 1984 graduate donated $50,000 from his foundation to the district, and the Verizon Foundation kicked in the other $20,000. Johnston said the money was to be used to buy wireless laptops.

The retired fullback for the Dallas Cowboys visited district schools earlier in the day, and at the School Board meeting at night recapped what he told students and pupils. Johnston said students graduating from Lew-Port were behind others because they lack access to up-to-date computers.

He added that the $70,000 check was just the beginning, and urged the board and the rest of the community to get behind his idea to bring up-to-date technology to the district.

Johnston said he would be back in June to see how far the district has come in addressing how to buy newer technology. Board President William Johnson said at the next regular board meeting he will offer a resolution to form a committee of teachers, community members and board members to address the issue.

High School Principal Roberta H. Love said: "These grants will allow us to fundamentally change the way we conduct the business of education by putting powerful learning tools in the hands of our students 24 hours a day. Wireless laptops will help us to foster the creation of highly motivated, self-directed learners who can access the rich resources of the Web at the touch of a button."

"We're delighted to team with Daryl Johnston, a champion on the field and off," said Maureen Rasp-Glose, community relations director for Verizon. "Our foundation is helping others use technology to help create a more skilled work force and to bridge the digital divide. Grants like this one help us fulfill that mission."

In another matter, the board voted 5-1 to extend the contract of Don W. Rappold, assistant superintendent for administrative services, for another four years.

For the first year of the contract, retroactive to 1999-2000, Rappold said he received an increase of $1,364 for a yearly salary of $85,000. For 2000-01, he will be paid $87,000; for 2001-02, he will earn $89,000; and for 2002-03, he will make $91,000.

The board also set a work session on the 2001-02 budget for 7 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Primary Building.

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