“We’re not wagging the dog; we’re not leading the pack,” O’Rourke said. “We’re in a good position for this. What I’m hearing is that we’re doing this in a well-thought-out manner, and they’re respectful of the process we’re undertaking.” Lebanon administration has learned a lot from these other schools that have already made the textbook-to-computer switch, O’Rourke added. They’ve asked questions like: What do you wish you had done differently And: What went well The board approved on Tuesday the purchase of 1,150 Macbook Air laptops, with necessary equipment, for a total cost of $1.15 million. Those funds will be paid in semi-annual payments of around $147,700 for four years. It will be paid through a combination of student textbook rental fees, the capital projects fund, and a common school loan for technology. The corporation has requested the loan, said Chad Martin, director of technology, but has not yet been approved by the state.
About 40 percent of the price tag will be taken care of by the textbook fees, Martin said. Those fees will not be significantly higher than what most students pay now. Textbook rental fees become a technology fee and will be around $150 per year.
“The technology fee will replace the textbook fee, but there could be other fees,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to be misleading and say you won’t have any other fees, but those fees will be there regardless.” Many students pay $125 to $300 a year in textbook rental fees alone, O’Rourke added. He does not anticipate any new textbook adoptions, though teachers will continue to use the current textbooks until they are obsolete. The transition does not happen overnight, he said. Those textbooks can then become in-class resources while the rest of the curriculum moves to digital. It may take more time for materials in some classes to go totally digital, like novels in English classes.
Do you think school students should be given dedicated laptops for their studies?