Student laptops approved for grades 6 though 12

During the Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education meeting on Monday, Dec. 13, the board members were presented the option for USD No. 113 schools to purchase student laptops for grades 6 through 12.

This proposal was brought up during the previous board meeting on Monday, Nov. 8. Superintendent Todd Evans presented the iPad 1:1 Initiative to the board members with the idea that laptops would be purchased as 1:1 devices to replace iPads for grades 6 through 12. A survey was sent out to USD No. 113 staff members about their thoughts on laptops. The board chose to wait until the December meeting before making any final decisions.

At the December meeting, each campus principal came before the board to share what they had heard from their staff members and their preferences of using laptops versus iPads.

Rick Schnacker, principal of Wetmore, said his staff mostly preferred iPads for grades K though 4 and laptops for grades 5 to 12.

Matt Garber, principal of Sabetha Middle School, said one of his staff members was strongly in support of keeping the iPads, another staff member was strongly in favor of using laptops and the rest of the staff did not have a preference.

Alana Seddon, principal of Axtell, said the vast majority of her staff members wanted iPads for grads K to 4 and laptops for grades 5 to 12, except one of her 5-12 staff members questioned whether iPads would be needed for high school science.

David Glynn, principal of Sabetha High School, said his staff overall were in favor of using the student laptops, though some staff members had concerns.

Rusty Willis, principal of Sabetha Elementary School, said SES plans to continue using iPads for grades K to 5, because they though it was developmentally appropriate to do so.

The overall consensus from each building was in favor of buying laptops for middle school and high school students and continuing the use of iPads for the younger students. Though, there were concerns shared by staff members. Some concerns mentioned regarded camera quality on laptops versus iPads, battery life, app availability and usability, and the durability of laptops.

The board seemed to be in collective agreement that the use of laptops for grades 6 through 12 would be a good investment. Superintendent Evans mentioned that USD No. 113 has been awarded Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) money that they could use to cover $400 per device. Evans also mentioned that the district could use ESSER funds as well. He also said ECF funds and ESSER funds can only be used to cover the cost of the laptops – laptop cases are not included in the expense coverage.

Board member Jim Scoby asked Superintendent Evans how long he thought the laptops would last for. Evans thought the laptops would last for, at best, five years. He was hopeful that the laptops would last that long.

Evans presented an invoice for the student laptops, which will be the HP ProBook 440 G8. The grand total for 550 student laptops will be $473,000. The laptops will be purchased through CDWG, and students will begin using the devices by the start of the 2022-23 school year. The board members approved this purchase with all in favor.


Erin Herrmann98 Posts

Erin Herrmann is a reporter at The Sabetha Herald. She specializes in school board reporting, features and advertising design.


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