Chowchilla teacher under fire for buying computers for students to use | Fresno Bee

What a Chowchilla Union High School teacher thought would better her students’ learning experience now has her in trouble.

Kim Kutzner, an English teacher, and her husband, Paul Wheeler, a computer specialist, collected enough laptops using their own money for each of her students to use, but those computers may not be allowed in the classroom.

Kutzner said the laptops, which students have been using for most of their work for several months, were removed from her classroom after school officials voiced concerns about equipment being used that wasn’t purchased and approved by the district.

The estimated value of the computer equipment is nearly $78,000, according to Kutzner, and the district has offered to pay for new computers. But Kutzner is urging them to accept her current system as a gift instead.

The 90 computers have since been returned to Kutzner’s classroom – but there is no guarantee they will be allowed to stay.

“We are using the computers at the moment, but administration is saying that they need to go,” Kutzner said. “I was told that my job is on the line because of this. But I thought I was going above and beyond … When I first proposed it, I was told how generous it was. It’s just absurd. It’s not logical or reasonable.”

Kutzner said that while Chowchilla Union High has computer labs, there are not computers in most classrooms, and she wanted all of her students to have access to a device. She said that since bringing in the laptops, student morale and test scores have significantly improved.


Kim Kutzner, Chowchilla High teacher

“It has been nothing but successful with the kids. Usually, when I would assign them to write a 500-word story, I would hear groans and I couldn’t get them to focus. But now they go to work without a peep because they like using technology – it’s nonthreatening,” she said.

“The students are really, really upset that they could be taken away again. When teens get in trouble, you take away their technology, so for them, there’s a sense of injustice.”

Chowchilla Union Principal Justin Miller said the concern is with district policies about outside equipment and whether student data, and what students have access to, is protected under Kutzner’s custom system.

“The biggest concern the district has is making sure that it’s safe and passes all the rules and state and federal governmental regulations, since it was brought in from the outside,” he said. “Depending on the filter and things like that, they might not be safe, so we are reviewing everything and trying to be as safe as possible.”


Chowchilla Union High School District Superintendent Ron Seals

Kutzner contends that the computers are safe: her husband custom designed the system for her students, and there is no connection to the Internet.

Chowchilla Union High School District Superintendent Ron Seals would not comment on the details of the issue, and could not point to specific policies that would prevent the use of Kutzner’s computers, but said they are allowed in the classroom until the board makes a final decision.

“We’ve been working on trying to get this solved, ” Seals said. “We’re just trying to make sure everyone is protected. Mrs. Kutzner is one of our best teachers in the district, but the bottom line is the computers are not district property. Would you allow me to come into your house and install my stuff without any involvement?”

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7 thoughts on “Chowchilla teacher under fire for buying computers for students to use | Fresno Bee

  1. I don’t quite understand. Teachers purchase items and devices for the classroom ALL the time, so much so that the Federal Government gives an itemized deduction. How is this viewed any differently?

    I for one commend this teacher for finding a solution which enables her to actually teach her students.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is honestly unfair. You have teachers there who shouldn’t even be working as a teacher considering they’re rude and unprofessional, but the one teacher who is doing good for her students and buying computers for their education you decide to fire her? That’s not right. Please help my school to get its head straight and realize what is right and wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am currently a student at CUHS I am a senior I had Mrs. Kutzner for 2 years of my high school years she is one of the best teachers thanks to her I am a better english speeker and the computers have help many of the student such as for homework or after school assignment since the school library isn’t open after school she would allow the students to better there grades I find this unfair to her and to the new students coming in to high school that are being denid the opportunity to learn with technology she wanted her students to give the kids the opportunity to learn with computers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You worry about the political correctness of the name of my children’s almamater and yet you take this attitude when you have a teacher who goes above and beyond to get her students interested, participating, enjoying and excelling in High School. This is what we need when it comes to good teachers, we should be applauding this teacher and damn well seeking out more like her for this school district. Our students need every opportunity that can be provided them. Why take away something that works? Beauracracy at it’s best! Lord knows could it be because those who make the big money failed to come up with the idea or gumption to move a mountain and make a real difference in a child’s life. Pride goeth before a fall. Thank You Mrs Kutzner for putting your students education first! I am proud to say you exemplify “Redskin Pride” and it will always be Redskin Pride! when it comes to the Mangrum Family! All our Love and prayer’s. Mr Cogan always said “A Redskin never Boo’s a Redskin!”


  4. I always knew CUHS was going downhill but seriously… Mrs Kutzner is one of the most amazing teachers there. When she brought the laptops into our class (my year, we were the first ones to use them) we got so much work done and she’d let us finish other work we had from other classes there that we could save to our usb drives, and the laptops are better than the notebooks the school provided. They cut everything off now it seems, by my senior year I couldn’t use my 2GB usb drive for saving reports, TAPS etc and then they even blocked my email off several times since I always had issues uploading files to their sites they said were the “best”.
    I’m positive her guidelines she had her students follow were followed and proper. She’s not one to cause chaos and get herself fired. The district is just causing issues because they don’t have absolute control over her laptops like they do everyone else in that school.
    They seriously better not fire her when she isn’t being aggressive in any way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. since there is not internet connection on these laptops…………there should not be an issue. The school needs to stop looking for a fight !! My daughter will soon be at the high school and if this is the way school board is conducting its self…………then the board members better start looking for something else to do. I will be the first to get each and every one of them un elected !!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I had Mrs. Kutzner for my freshman year of high school and she was by far my favorite teacher. When I had any kind of problem she was always there to help me. She helped all of her students try to excel. She was honest and respectful and very helpful. But she also stayed within the rules and regulations of the school and the district. So I absolutely know that before she even decided to get these laptops she would have made sure that they were within the guidelines. And if they are helping her students excel and progress and on top of that they don’t have internet connection what is the point of making such a big deal? She is a favorite among even most of the kids that hate teachers and she gets through to the kids. So even if there was a problem with the computers that she missed, which I doubt there is, why be so extreme as to fire her?

    Liked by 1 person

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