Mineola School Superintendent Dr Michael Nagler is hoping to take advantage of the drop in price for the iPad 2, following the announcement of a new iteration, by switching them in gradually for the netbooks they currently own.
"We've seen a lot of damage with the netbook; they are not a sturdy device, especially mobile," Dr. Nagler said as per the reason for choosing the iPad over the netbook. The district had two separate initiatives in the schools this year. The district has repaired or replaced about 50 cracked screens, having to train and certify its own staff to replace the screens themselves in order to become more cost-effective.
Dr Nagler has a commendable focus on balancing high quality education and resources with fiscal responsibility at a time when many school districts are running into problems caused by huge budget deficits. Ultimately, it is the districts which manage their funds well who will able to invest properly in technological education advances and infrastructure.
In 2006-07 Mineola purchased roughly $250,000 worth of equipment, paying for it over 5 years, doing so again in subsequent years until reaching a peak of $540,626 in 2010-11.
"The idea there was you keep getting new equipment in bunches, in large sums and then you pay for it over time and when you reach the peak, your budget doesn't go up any more because you're going to flatten it out because the next time you buy something you're going to stay within the year you're replacing," the superintendent said.
Providing iPads for students is an expensive measure and more schools should be following the example of Marietta School Board who negotiated a discount immediately after Apple announced the new model.
An alternative approach to iPad purchase was adopted by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools who spent $10 million on new iPads for the classroom then asked the state for an additional $27.5 million to pay salaries.