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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Next in line for school tech upgrades are computer labs

  • Current budget estimate for 2013-14 purchases is $177K.
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  •     Last year, the top priorities, and most expensive components included in technology upgrades in Crookston's public schools were installing the infrastructure needed for a new wireless network, and leasing a new fleet of computers for teachers.
        This year, although no decisions are yet final, it appears that getting new computers for testing labs in the schools is next in line, according to district Technology Director Kevin Weber.
        The investments are made possible by the successful operating levy referendum approved by school district voters a couple years ago. With the approved ballot question resulting in around $1 million in revenue coming into the district each year, school board members said early on that they'd be willing to invest as much as $200,000 a year in technology upgrades.
        The expenditures Weber is targeting for purchase in time for the 2013-14 school year at this point total just over $177,000. The two biggest line items are around $75,000 for 60 Apple computers for two computer/testing labs at Highland School and approximately $37,500 for 30 similar machines for the computer lab at Crookston High School. Around $12,500 would be spent on new Apple computres for the business lab at the high school as well. Other purchases of note include a 10 pack of iPads for Washington School for student use, and a new, district-level firewall. Some hardware and software items, such as new Adobe CS 6 Design, round out the purchases.
        The school board has yet to officially sign off on a final list to be purchased for the upcoming school year.
        "I will have to wait for the final budget numbers and see where they solidify," Weber told the Times.
        The list presented to the board recently was ranked in order of priority, he added, leaving room for items at or near the bottom to be removed if need be. At the bottom of the list, for instance, are four new printers costing a total of $5,000. "With lots of TLC I know we can make it another year with the printers," Weber said.
        Next to be removed if necessary are the new computers for the business lab, he said.
        "The deciding factors are number of students affected, age and availability of equipment," Weber said.

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