School technology plan approved

The Princeton school district will get a shot of new tech equipment by next school year at a cost of $284,000.

The school board authorized the purchases requested by district tech director Matt Baker at the regular board meeting May 8.

The biggest expenditure ($105,000) will go for lab upgrades for students to take state-required exams and involve adding about 105 new computers. The next largest expenditure will be $55,000 for about 55 new computers for the middle school. Following an initiative being tried in other school districts, the board also approved spending $54,000 to purchase about 90 iPads with covers as a trial program to see how much they might improve teaching methods. The memo sheet on the expenditures in the school board agenda packets states that the iPads would be distributed to the middle school and two elementary buildings.

Someone at the school board meeting asked whether the iPads would be allowed to be taken home and the answer was that a policy has not been determined.

“We’re not going to say never,” Superintendent Rick Lahn said the next day about taking the iPads home. But initially, they would stay in the classroom, he said.

The board also OK’d spending $45,000 for wireless hardware and switches with installation. The other expenditure is $25,000 for a server/network infrastructure upgrade.

Lahn explained how computers are rotated out of classrooms when they reach a certain age or usefulness and moved to lower priority areas. The ones being replaced at the middle school are about seven years old, Lahn said. He explained that it is never possible to replace all  the older computers but that the district does a certain percentage each year.

Noting the use of computers for testing, Lahn said that the majority of the state tests are taken online now.