HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — All Huntsville students from fourth grade up will have laptop computers when they return to class in August.
The school district on Monday entered into an agreement to lease 11,000 computers from Hewlett-Packard at a cost of about $2.3 million per year. The contract will allow the district to speed up plans to put personal computers or tablets in the hands of all students.
Aaron King, the district’s director of support operations, explained it would have cost about $12 million, or $1,100 per computer, if the system bought the laptops at the prices set on the state bid list.
Leasing the computers will cost the district $207 per laptop per year. At the end of the lease agreement, which has not yet been released to the public, the district can buy the computers for $45 each, King said.
When board members asked Superintendent Casey Wardynski which students would have laptops, he said the district was “probably looking at every child.”
The district is anticipating all students in third grade and younger receiving iPads or other tablets.
The new laptops will be leased and prepared for students over the summer.
“Holy smokes, that’s incredible,” board member Jennie Robinson said of the time frame. Initially, the district’s one-to-one computer program was anticipated to take several years to establish.
“(Information Technology) has a heck of a job ahead of them,” King said.
King said the 11,000 leased laptops would be assigned to students from sixth to 12th grades. The district already has laptops to cover fourth- and fifth-graders.
Wardynski in October initiated a technology push in the district that provided about 3,600 laptops to all fifth-graders and some ninth-graders. Using about $853,000 set aside in the district’s 2012 budget for technological upgrades, the district also assigned each principal an iPad and a laptop computer.