The district approved a three-year lease program in November and accepted a bid from Synergetics for $127,000 a year. Each of the district's 350 teachers is receiving a new Lenovo E530 ThinkPad, a wireless keyboard and mouse and a docking station with a separate 19-inch, flat-panel desktop screen.
The Commercial Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/W4Ri2T) that last semester the district finished installing a Smart Board in every classroom. The Smart Boards are touch computer screens that resemble a square dry erase board.
The new laptops will be wirelessly connected to them.
"The Smart Boards are great, but I find myself running back and forth from each station to the board a lot, trying to explain different things to children," said second grade teacher Rosia Jackson. "But with the wireless mouse and keyboard, I'll be able to move around much more easily."
Superintendent Lewis Holloway said the district has leased 20 extra computers, so if a teacher's laptop needs repairs it can be substituted with a replacement while the original is being fixed.
Overall, Holloway says leasing the laptops was the most economic option.
"It didn't require a huge capital outlay from the district, but it also puts teachers on the same standardized platform which was a big plus. We will save on repairs on older computers and on time with staff working with more productive items that are involved with teaching other than waiting on those repairs or other mishaps," he said.
Holloway said the three-year lease allows the district to stay on top of technological changes and ensures the district will get the best possible price.
"At the end of three years, we will send them back to Synergetics and we will release another bid and the teachers will get brand new computers," Holloway said. "This makes sure our technology stays up-to-date in every classroom."