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.