USD 259 to spend $24 million to get laptops and devices to every student

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Next year, USD 259 wants to give every student in the district a laptop or electronic device with internet service.

On Monday, the school board voted unanimously to pay $24 million to make it happen in the first semester of the next school year.

“They will supply always-on internet capability,” said chief information officer Rob Dickson. “We’ve worked closely with the vendor of choice, and they have assured that they will have the right supply chain to get those in place.”

Dickson talked with school board members in a special session of the board on Monday. When it came time to vote, it was unanimous.

“A significant amount of the money is going to come from CARES Act dollars,” said Dickson. “And we will also supplement that through a lease/purchase strategy that will be funded through capital outlay.”

It is explained as a kind of rent to own. The laptops and devices and Surface pro devices for 6th grade and high school teachers will be purchased over four years.

The COVID-19 situation was a factor in the decision to purchase all the devices right now.

“That capital outlay percentage will not increase. That was targeted specifically for technology but being able to pay that lease over time allows us to get the devices now over the period of four years,” said Dickson. “I think our board is confident. I think as we look at virtual learning in the future, I think our school is confident we provided professional development in a hybrid way and in a virtual way over the COVID crisis, and we will continue those competencies to bridge that gap in helping our teachers move forward with blended learning.”

The devices and laptops will have the school district system baked into the devices for student learning. There will be cloud computing involved and the district will begin distribution in August.

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