BY KARISSA MILLER

Iredell-Statesville Schools officials are hopeful for a smooth transition as the district moves from Apple MacBook Air laptops to Dell Latitude laptops for all high school students during the 2022-2023 school year.

The school board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of 7,870 Dell Latitude laptops for the district’s high school students and other related services during the board’s meeting two weeks ago. The total cost is $5,539,558.18.

The district will use Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Rescue (ESSR) funds to purchase the laptops. In the past, the district leased Apple devices. ESSR funds are provided to state educational agencies and school districts to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

I-SS Chief of Technology, Facilities and Maintenance Officer Tim Ivey told the board that the new devices will be covered by a warranty from the moment they arrive until the end of their use by the district.

The price also includes the cost of tune-up services for the devices each year. The district also was eligible for emergency connectivity funding, which Ivey said resulted in a reduction of $400 on 734 of the laptops.

Ivey thanked Jackie Parker, director of digital teaching and learning, for getting the quotes and for her due diligence to get the cost down from the initial quote.

The school board had approved an estimated cost of $5,584,000 for high school laptop devices in October.

Moving Forward

The school board has long recognized that a 1:1 initiative, which allows each student to have a school-owned laptop at all times, has become a necessity for students. The devices serve as textbooks and were an important tool during the pandemic for learning at home.

While moving from MackBooks to PCs will be a change for high school students, Ivey said that the district will still use Apple products and students will be exposed to multiple operating systems.

Next Meeting

The school board will meet for their Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The meeting, located at 350 Old Murdock Road in Troutman, is open to the public.

During the meeting, the board will receive a quote and more information on Apple devices, which are recommended for elementary and middle school students. They will also get a first look at the upcoming local budget and discuss what they will do with the Mt. Mourne school property.

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