Tupelo schools extends laptop initiative

TUPELO – Tupelo Public School District will add 3,400 iMacs to its inventory to spread the laptop initiative down through sixth grade this year.
On Tuesday, the school board moved forward on the purchase of the new laptop computers, which will go to middle and high school students.
Sixth-graders will use the computers turned in by the Class of 2010.
Graduating seniors turned in all of the laptops they had used during the second semester as part of the first phase of the program, said Tupelo Superintendent Randy Shaver.
The few computers that had been damaged were paid for by students.
“They actually had a lot fewer than expected,” said Mark Williams, the district’s Apple representative. “One of the few surprises for adults is how well kids take care of them.”
In addition to the laptops, the district is leasing 30 desktop iMacs for an Apple certification at Tupelo High School and 10 iPads to be used by teachers at all grade levels to see how they might be used in the future.
In all, the lease will cost the district $3.3 million over four years. The cost is being covered in part by money the district had available in its debt service. No new taxes are required to cover the cost of the computer initiative.
The board had projected to spend $5.2 million over five years to fund the initiative that provides one computer per student.
“We’re a little less than that right now,” Shaver told the board.
The district is sending two staff members for training that will allow them to service computers in the district.
“That helped lower the district’s costs,” Williams said.
Contact Michaela Gibson Morris at (662) 678-1588 or michaela.morris@djournal.com.

Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal