Ann Arbor schools to replace thousands of lab computers with technology bond money
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Ann Arbor Public Schools has more technology purchases in the pipeline to put to use its $45.8 million tech bond.
The Board of Education approved Wednesday allocating $27,405 of the district's technology bond money to purchase 35 classroom sound-field amplification systems.
The sound amplifiers are worn around the teacher's neck and help boost his or her voice so all students can receive instruction better.
Up next in tech bond purchases will be 2,800 desktop computers and 400 MacBook Air laptop computers, which will replace the older laptops in the computer carts at the elementary schools.
The desktops will replace the 1,900 iMac computers currently used in the district's computer labs. These will be used for Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) testing in the fall. The remaining 900 computers will be stored for future tech bond rollouts, such as to replace teachers' iMacs when the time comes, said Executive Director of Physical Properties Randy Trent.
Voters in the Ann Arbor Public Schools district approved the $45.8-million bond for technology improvements in May 2012. The bond began levying an additional .45 mills (or 45 cents per $1,000 of taxable value) from taxpayers in July.
The tech bond passed with 70.35 percent approval from residents.
The desktop and laptop purchases for the district's stationary and mobile computer labs came before the school board Wednesday for a first briefing. The board is expected to approve the proposals at its Feb. 27 meeting.
The district received a 25 percent discount from Apple off the listed price for the MacBook Air laptops. They will cost AAPS $1,069 per unit, totaling $427,600.
The iMac desktops will cost $1,039 per unit or a total cost of $2.9 million.
All of the new computers will use Apple's new operating system, Mountain Lion. This will require the district to replace some of its software in the future, which cannot be purchased using bond money per state law.