Middle School students to get laptop computers in October

By Angie Barmer

Students at New Albany Middle School will have new laptops for their classroom this Fall.

At the school board meeting Thursday night, school board member Bernice Bailey made the motion to approve the recommendation to approve a three-year lease of 240 laptops for NAMS from Howard Technology Solutions/CalFirst in the amount of $48,149.58. School board members Jerry Tate, Matt Harris, and Jill Shaw all approved the motion while school board member Brad Clayton opposed the recommendation.

Before the approval of the recommendation, Clayton suggested tabling the purchasing of the laptops to allow businesspeople that sell computers come in and have a presentation on three different types of laptops and evaluate the laptops side by side so a more informed decision can be made.

“We need more information on specifications, durability, price, performance, and how these laptops are going to be used in the classroom. I have had good success with the MacBooks and have talked to other people that have had success with them,” said Clayton.

Superintendent Jackie Ford said, “We already have the Lenovo connections and wired carts at the elementary school. We have done our research and know that these are good computers. The MacBooks are more expensive than the Lenovo laptops and so are the Hewlett-Packard laptops. We wouldn’t be able to put as much technology in as many hands if we went with the Apple product.”

Clayton then recommended to table the approval of the purchasing of the laptops to allow computer consultants to come in. Harris seconded the motion. Then, Shaw, Tate, and Bailey opposed the motion, which is when Bailey recommended to approve the laptop purchase.

Additionally, the new Pearson products that go in line with the new digital curriculum that is being implemented in third through fifth grade at the elementary school are more PC-based instead of Macintosh-based.

The digital curriculum got brought up and Clayton asked if the middle school students were getting the digital curriculum on their laptops this year and Ford said that they wouldn’t receive the digital curriculum until next year.

Clayton asked, “So the laptops are going to sit there for a year not being used?”

Ford said, “The laptops will be used in the classroom for various purposes every day.”

The plan is for the students to receive these laptops around Oct. 1.

Shaw said, “I think that this should have been in the agenda a lot sooner before the August meeting because there’s not enough time to talk about this in detail and we felt like we had to make a decision tonight because the students are getting them at the beginning of Oct.”

Clayton and Harris both agreed.

Clayton added, “This wasn’t on the agenda three days before the meeting. According to the school board policy, this should have been on the school board agenda three days before the meeting.”