Computer project studied

Published 11:57 pm Friday, November 5, 2010

WINDSOR – All high school students in Bertie County will receive a computer for their school work if the school board and Golden Leaf approve a new technology initiative.

Thursday night, during the regular meeting of the Bertie County Board of Education, Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Will Crawford presented a plan developed by a committee of school district personnel and members of the community.

The plan calls for students in grades 10-12 to receive Mac Books and for ninth grade students to receive IPads. There will also be “hot spots” located throughout the county for internet connectivity.

According to the proposal, the Golden Leaf Foundation will likely contribute $750,000 towards the initiative. The total costs for the computers will be $822,000.

 “To cover all expenses, the board will need to budget $60,000 for three years to cover the total cost of the project,” Dr. Crawford told the board.

He said Apple would agree to finance the balance for four years, but he had suggested a three-year payoff.

There will be an additional cost of $150,000 for professional development and $110,000 for connectivity.

“Over four years, technology will change drastically, will it not,” asked board member Pamela Chamblee.

“Maybe not drastically, but it will change,” Dr. Crawford answered.

Board Vice Chairman Alton Parker, who served on the committee, said that was taken into account.

“As we were looking into it, we simply cannot afford to keep up with technology, but this will help us make a big start and do the best we can,” he said.

Dr. Crawford said the committee had worked hard to make sure the proposal was the best it could be.

“They are good folks who are doing a good job,” he said.

The superintendent also said he had asked Pat Cabe of the Golden Leaf Foundation to set up a meeting for the proposal to be submitted. When that happens, Dr. Crawford said he was hoping to take committee members and board members to the presentation.

He told the board a 90-page draft would go out to them soon and asked they take time to read it so they would be prepared to vote during the December meeting.

“It would be good if we could get this done next month,” Parker added.

Board member Emma Johnson asked how long it would take to get started once it was set up.

Dr. Crawford said the computers would be in the hands of teachers in January, but not to the students until April because there would be extensive staff development before they could be used.

“This summer, we will have training sessions for students and parents,” he said. “The people who worked on that area have an excellent plan to make sure everything is understood.”

Parker said when the project is implemented it will be good for the county.

“It will bring some of the best technology we have had yet in Bertie County,” he said.

Board members agreed to read the summary of the plan and be prepared to vote next month.