BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) -- Students in North Boone school district could be getting more high-tech learning tools. The new devices aren’t cheap and the cost has some people concerned, since the district is facing a budget deficit.
Cracked and torn textbooks fill classrooms at North Boone Middle School, but that could soon change. The district wants to swap out aging texts for new-age tablets.
“One of the nice things about technolog is it tends to raise the engagement level. Kids are more likely to do stuff in a technology format than a paper/pencil format.”
Teachers say instead of just verbally calling on students, they can also see students work on the tablets.
“In a way it forces students to participate, it’s not quite anonymous but it’s not putting them in the spotlight in the classroom but they’re still getting their voice out there.”
However, the mini computers aren’t cheap. The district could spend as much as $95,000 on 150 tablets for middle schoolers. The price is raising some questions since North Boone is facing a deficit of more than a million dollars. In an email, one parent says, “can’t afford busing, but we have enough money to make this extravagant purchase?”
Transportation cuts and teacher layoffs are some areas the district could slash to reduce the deficit.
When we asked Superintendent, Dr. Steven Baule about the cost, he said, “$95,000 could potentially save two teacher positions but again we’ve worked very hard in North Boone, we have not cut any teacher positions that aren’t based entirely on enrollment.”
Dr. Baule says the tablets could actually save money by reducing paper costs as well as textbooks that only last a few years.
Just to give you an example of the costs, the district spent $100,000 on new math material this year, just for kindergarten through sixth grades. The district currently has 80 tablets that students share.
The North Boone School board will discuss the pilot program during tonight’s meeting. It’s at 6:00 at the District office.