BISD Superintendent Reece Blincoe told school board members Monday that the district has been looking at purchasing new laptops for the incoming freshman class for the next school year.
"As y'all are aware, we have been trying and have so far been successful to update the freshmen class every year for new laptops," Blincoe said to the school board trustees. "What our goal was, as we started last year, was the machines would stay with that particular class through graduation, and at time of graduation, the students and their families would be eligible to purchase those machines at a tremendously reduced cost."
Blincoe said that thanks to some state funding, parent contributions, and some district money, the 2012-2013 freshmen will also enjoy new laptops, but a different model than in the past.
"We called in our Apple rep and we are going to what is called a MacBook Air," Blincoe said. "After thoroughly examining them, and considering smaller devices like the iPad, the 11 inch MacBook Air would suffice for us."
Blincoe said that the district worked with Apple Computers to consider different options, including iPads, but ultimately decided that the MacBook Air was the best choice to go with. He said that the main considerations in choosing the MacBook Air over iPad were the ability to administer online tests and book options.
"We are looking to order 270 MacBook Airs for next year," Blincoe said. "These computers would also have three-year parts warranty as well, which is what we have right now."
Blincoe said that the total cost for the laptops for the incoming freshmen would be $256,813.
"It has always been a dream of mine, and you know that we have said it would be a perfect world someday when the district was on the hook for about a third of this, the parents were on the hook for about a third of this, and the state would be on the hook for about a third of this," Blincoe said.
For this purchase, $160,000 would be from state instructional material allotments, $80,000 would be from parent contributions, and $16,813 would be from school funds. Blincoe said that the $80,000 parent's contribution is from $50 per year fees charged for the use of the laptop from the past few years that has not yet been spent.
"As we shut down the school year and we write those balances into one pool, we'll safely and easily be able to pay that amount and order laptops for next year," Blincoe said.
Blincoe also said that graduating seniors will have the opportunity to purchase their regular MacBook laptops after graduation.
"If you have a senior, they'll be able to purchase that laptop this year for I believe $200 was the price that we set," Blincoe said.
Blincoe said that the board will look to approve a budget amendment later in the year for the funds to purchase the new laptops.