BY KARISSA MILLER
After months of research, the Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the $12.3 million tech refresh recommendation for the 2022-2023 school year.
The next wave of devices will include a mix of MacBooks, iPads and PCs.
The recommendation for student and staff devices is as follows:
• Elementary students will receive an iPad without a keyboard,
• Middle school students will receive an iPad with a keyboard,
• High School students will receive a PC (brand to be determined),
• Collaborative College for Technology and Leadership (CCTL) students will receive a MacBook,
• Teachers, certified support staff and administration will receive a MacBook,
• K-8 teachers will receive an iPad without a keyboard.
• Charging carts for 339 classrooms, and
• Elementary charging carts for 668 classrooms.
The estimated total cost of the device refresh is $12,390,424, which is a slight decrease from the $12.8 million device refresh during the 2018-2019 school year.
The district will use money from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund to purchase the devices.
“You are probably going to spend a similar amount, but it’s more devices than you’ve gotten in the past,” Chief Finance Officer Melissa Wike told the board Monday night.
Elementary was previously a 1:2 ratio and this tech refresh also includes devices for teacher assistants and other staff members, who were not included in the last refresh.
Moving from MacBooks to PCs will be a change for high school students; however, Superintendent Jeff James and school board members are proponents of exposing students to multiple operating systems.
“If we do PCs in the schools, we want to put some Mac labs in the schools, too. So that way students know both platforms. When they enter college, they are way ahead of the game,” James said.
Jackie Parker, I-SS director of digital teaching and learning, explained that the recommendation was brought to the board early so that the staff could get the RFP written and the orders put in because of anticipated delays.
Board member Doug Knight asked if middle school students will get to take their devices home with them.
I-SS Chief Technology, Facility and Maintenance Officer Tim Ivey said that the tech refresh committee made the recommendation to build good digital citizenship in sixth, seventh and eighth grade.
He said that as students complete the program where they learn to use the devices properly, they will essentially graduate toward taking the device home with them.
Ivey mentioned that the district was able to secure a complete warranty for all four years, which will take the insurance cost off of the parents, except for intentional damage. There is also a better filtration system that will be put on the devices.
“I believe it’s a fair compromise between performance and cost. We are obligated to look out for cost because ultimately the money comes from the taxpayers. I feel like this recommendation you guys have come up with is a good compromise,” board member Bryan Shoemaker said.
Knight agreed. “This is the greatest balance you could do to get the most for the least,” he said
Board member Sam Kennington asked for a report to be presented to the board on an annual basis on how the technology influences the district’s curriculum achievement.
“I don’t know if we have seen any growth in test scores with the computer, but I do understand that computers are here to stay. Everyone has to have one,” Chairman Martin Page said.