The effort to purchase a laptop or mobile device for every student has been a long time coming. Back when Dr. Lori Romano was Superintendent (2014), she pushed heavily for purchasing a “tablet” for each student. Her plan was to use funds from a renewal of the half-cent sales tax to make the purchase which was anticipated to cost $62,395,000 over the next ten years. In November of 2014, voters did not go for the renewal of the half-cent sales tax, which then ended that funding source for at least a year. Voters did approve a renewal of the half-cent in a 2015 special election, which was specified to go towards capital improvements on school facilities, rather than emphasizing technology and the 1:1 student/tablet effort.
Fast forward to 2022. Covid funding from the federal government has enabled the purchase of one-to-one devices for the 2022-2023 school year. Student one-to-one devices, extended accidental damage warranty, and associated equipment are estimated to cost $13,630,070.00.
According to the school district, “The full cost of the laptop devices will be covered by ECF (Emergency Connectivity Funds) grant funding (approximately $10,264,000.00) and the other associated costs for equipment and extended accidental damage warranty (approximately $307,700.00 for equipment/devices and $3,066,370.00 for accidental damage warranty) shall be covered by ESSER III grant funding.”
(ESSER stands for “Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief.” These funds were provided to school districts as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.)
Students will be provided with a HP ProBookx360 11 G5 EE Notebook PC with a touchscreen.
This model has a retail price of $1,168.00 on hp.com.
The computers will include all needed applications, educational programs, and files for students to access at home and at school using a single sign-on. Internet content will be monitored and filtered in accordance with the Children Internet Protection Act (CIPA).
The school district will undertake an upgrade of the wireless network districtwide to handle the traffic and bandwidth requirements. This includes approximately 2,000 WiFi access points, concurrent cabling, and additional network switching. The school district will assemble a task force to make sure the roll-out goes smoothly.
Kiosks will be placed in each school where students can turn in damaged laptops for a replacement, report lost laptops, or charge devices.
It hasn’t been decided how the laptops will be funded after 2022-2023.
According to school district Public Information Officer Karen Jordan,
“At this time, the district has not identified the specific funding source beyond next year but the school board is committed to ensuring that students have learning devices available to them.”
What those costs would look like is also unknown at this time.
As far as returning laptops at the end of the school year, Jordan said, “The plan for returning laptops will most likely be based on the grade level. For example, 8th graders will return the laptop to their middle school and will be re-issued a device when they get to high school. That way the inventory stays with the school.”