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School District Leases 350 Laptops for Technology Initiative

A laptop program has been in the works for freshman at Menomonee Falls High School, and the School Board inked a deal with a company to lease the technology.

Falls freshman are taking a bold step into the next century, and will be the first class in the district to utilize laptops as part of the curriculum.

The laptop initiative has been in discussion for nearly a year at the School Board level, and Monday marked the day they agreed to the dollars and cents for the project.

The district agreed to a lease and purchase agreement for 350 laptops through Providence Capital Network. The lease will cost the district roughly $188,000, which has already been incorporated into the 2012-13 budget. Residents ratified the tax levy in September.

The district will lease the laptops with cases for three years, and Providence guarantees a minimum buyback of $100 per laptop at the end of the term. The $35,000 will be used to payback the remaining balance on the lease. The district could reap more dollars through the buyback program, and anything in excess of $100 per computer will go back to district coffers.

The district agreed to a three-year lease because battery life on the devices is projected at three years.  It also allows flexibility for future growth of the initiative.

“Leasing would be the best option in terms of planning future budgets, and future expansion of the project,” said Director of Business Services Jeff Gross.

After three years, the laptops could be sold to families in the district at fair market value as well.

The decision to bring laptops into ninth grade classrooms has been on the agenda for the school board for much of last year. It has followed the nationwide trend of encouraging technological literacy in schools. The plan is to implement the program this fall.

The laptops could reduce the need to purchase textbooks and computer labs, which would offset the cost of the laptop initiative.

If the program is successful, administrators plan to expand it within three years. The current plan is that the second phase would bring laptops to the rest of the high school while the third would extend laptop use down to sixth grade.

Steve ® October 24, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Those books were super expensive. And I don't think that you need internet access to access it digitally. It should be on their computer as a PDF or similar. I agree we shoudl not subsidize internet services there are way too many options out there already to receive it for free.
Jann October 24, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Steve, Time Warner cable prices start at $35.00 a month. If people can't afford lunch for their kids I'm sure this cost would be a hardship. I hooked up my own wireless, but I think you are kidding yourself if you think everyone is capable of doing it. If the digital books can be accessed without internet, that would solve a lot of problems. However I have a feeling there may be a lot of stolen laptops at track meets etc. I doubt anyone is interested in stealing a text book. And just an FYI, the McDonalds on Appleton in the Falls is not at all student friendly, so you'd get kicked out of that one if you were not continuously ordering something.
Annie E October 25, 2012 at 05:57 AM
@ Nuitari. My children both have tablet computers which they use for schoolwork. They have the option of using the touch screen with stylus as well as the conventional keyboard. I have observed them using these tablets like a conventional laptop far more than as a tablet with the stylus. For most assignments it's just easier and more practical.
Craig October 26, 2012 at 02:14 AM
$19.99/ Month for TWC internet.
Jann October 29, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Craig, I had to call Time Warner today because I got a notice in my bill saying that effective next bill I will be charged a monthly fee of $3.95 to borrow their modem. I wanted to make sure they were talking about the wired modem which I've had for years now that is probably not worth anything. They confirmed that all customers with a Time Warner modem will get this monthly charge. I asked about the $20 per month internet rate showing online and was told that is for new customers only and you will basically get jacked up after 12 months to the higher rates. Time to go out and purchase our own wired modem so we won't get charged the fee.

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