By Jesse Wood
The $2.29 million also includes funds to add another staff member to the Instructional Technology department and an additional month of employment – from 10 to 11 months – for those working in IT, Devera said. The vendor chosen was Hewlett Packard, which was deemed the cheapest proposal for all the amenities among other companies that bid on the project, including Apple and Dell.
After Devera presented the proposal to the school board, WCS Finance Director Ly Marze presented the budget amendment to fund the “1 to 1” program.
WCS Finance Director Ly Marze said the first-year expense will total $803,144. The last two years of the three-year leasing agreement will cost $743,440 per year for a total investment of $2,290,024. Marze noted that the funds were coming from the unrestricted fund balance as requested by the Watauga County Board of Commissioners at a joint meeting in November.
Following the vote, Supt. David Fonseca called the measure “monumental” and recognized the board for its leadership before delving into a separate topic.
“Thank you for your vision of investing in our children,” Fonseca said.
The devices are designed to ensure success, one member of WCS staff said at the meeting, because they are fast, light, durable – not to mention being warrantied.
Board Member Barbara Kinsey asked how students had benefited from the “1 to 1” program, which was initiated three years ago through a purchase program of DELL computers that are being resold for $70,000. While one staff member said it was difficult to evaluate the specific data because of new curriculum – the Common Core – being instituted around the same time, Tamara Stamey, director of Elementary Education, gave a real-life example.
She said her daughter is a college freshman that took part in the WHS “1 to 1” program. She said while her dorm roommate is struggling to just “turn in assignments” on the correct platform, her daughter breezes through because she had four years of experience working with the technology and understands that her laptop isn’t a toy. It’s a tool, Stamey said.
“To use it the way it’s intended for school is an immense benefit for the student,” Stamey said.
Board Member Brenda Reese mentioned that she was pleased to see professional development addressed in the entire proposal because no matter how good the device works, if the teachers aren’t proficient in utilizing the laptops themselves, “it’s not going to be used.”
In an aside, Board Member Delora Hodges joked, “If the girls are all wearing the same backpacks, how are the girls going to be able to distinguish themselves?”
“Scarfs,” someone present chimed in.
For more information on this proposal, click here.