Monday, February 13, 2012

Kuna school district considers "frontloading" purchase of classroom technology for every classroom

Kuna school board members are weighing the possibility of paying for overhead projector technology for every classroom in the school district, with the hopes that the state will eventually pay for some or all of the cost over the next five years.
As part of the state’s new Students Come First education reform legislation, one of the mandates is for every school district to establish a standard for “equitable and ubiquitous presence of technology in every instructional area.”
In response, the Kuna school district came up with a plan to install Internet-connected, ceiling-mounted projectors and classroom audio-visual systems in every classroom in the district.
The state will fund the technology over four years. The Kuna school district anticipates receiving $153,000 the first year and a total of $436,000 over the course of four years.
However, purchasing classroom projectors piecemeal over the course of five years creates problems, including diluting purchasing power. Buying everything all at once creates efficiencies, such as ensuring common technology throughout the district, ensuring fairness for all classrooms and training all teachers at once on the same technology.
So the school district has been considering “frontloading” the purchase of the technology — buying all of the units now out of money from the 2007 voter-approved school bond then receiving the technology payments from the state over four years.
There are a couple of problems with that scenario, though. While the district expects to receive $436,000 from the state over four years, school district technology director Devan DeLashmutt estimates that projectors for all classrooms could cost as much as $712,069.
Further, if the district spends $712,069 now, and in November a voter referendum on the Students Come First legislation overturns those laws — including the classroom technology money — the Kuna school district could receive no payments from the state at all to recoup the cost of the projector units.

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