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CCS approves iPad purchase

Friday, September 14, 2012

CCS Superintendent Kim Tucker
At the Clay Community Schools regular board meeting Thursday, Sept. 13, the board voted unanimously to purchase approximately 300 Apple iPads for CCS teachers at a cost of over $200,000.

The decision came after much discussion among the board members and audience members as to whether or not settling with the Apple product was the right decision.

Superintendent Kim Tucker said the corporation must, under law, have a three-year technology plan, and the corporation is constantly working to revise and update their plan based on an ever-changing and evolving technology market.

"We are always talking about expanding technology," Tucker said. "We do have ongoing planning toward our corporation goals. Everything is comprehensive and considered over time."

Tucker said $105,000 has been reclaimed from the Department of Local Government Finance and $124,000 has been received from a school technology loan to be used for additional technology training or additional technology access points in the schools.

Tucker requested spending $197,400 on approximately 300 tablets (one per every teacher in the corporation) and spending an additional $5,180 on installation, software and training for the products.

Board member Tina Heffner said she's spoken with several teachers who are still wary about adopting the products. She also said she was concerned with adopting Apple products when there are several tablet devices available in the technological market.

Tucker said she understood Heffner's concerns and admitted that the Apple iPads may not be used for students if the corporation decides upon adopting a better, more affordable tablet in the future.

"In the next six months Apple's coming out with a smaller, less expensive version, Google's coming out with their version, Kindle's coming out with their version," Tucker said. "There's a lot of competition coming up concerning these tablets. Our focus is that we focus on what's best for the students. The reason why we want to get these into the hands of our teachers now is that they have the memory capacity and digital tools to help teachers now."

Heffner was concerned about cost and the ability of the corporation's technical team to work with the products. She was also concerned with every product working in the same way.

"I want to make sure that if we have different products they can work for the same purpose," Heffner said. "It's like we have different cars, but we're driving to the same destination."

Heffner emphasized that she and the other board members are all interested in incorporating tablets for the purposes of advancing education in the classroom, she only wanted to make sure they were doing it in the most cost effective way.

"I am for the advancement. We all are," said Heffner, "I just want to make sure we're doing it cost effectively and correctly. I want to make sure the IT staff are all able to work with these products."

IT staff members who were present assured Heffner they would be able to work with the products, along with the help of Five-Star and Apple representatives.

The board ultimately approved the purchase at a vote of 6-0.

After the vote, board member Ron Miller said, "I think we just made a step into the future for these schools more than we can ever know."

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