DeKALB – The DeKalb School District 428 Board voted, 4-1, to lease 2,250 Chromebook to students at their regular meeting Tuesday night. To put it in financial terms: The district will spend about $1 million on personal computers.
This decision comes as part of the district’s commitment to one-to-one technology in all county classrooms. The board had previously approved $905,000 worth of spending on replacement Chromebooks. Tuesday’s decision was the result of a separate vote, the sole purpose of which was to approve spending $31,000 to lease the remaining replacement computers.
Each Chromebook will cost the District $400 and include a protective case, a multiyear warranty and will cover software licensing fees.
Board member Kerry Mellott was the sole dissenting vote, saying that he suspected, but had not seen conclusive evidence, that the presence of Chromebooks improved a student’s learning experience. He noted that it did help make up for the discrepancy between teachers and the growing number of students.
Ben Bayle, the district’s chief technology officer, fielded Mellott’s questions on the measure before the board voted. Bayle said the reasons for the price – which is higher than, say, purchasing used Chromebooks from an online retailer– and outlined the extent of wear-and-tear that a computer accumulates over a four-year period.
“I don’t know of a single district that has not seen damage, especially at the secondary level,” Bayle said.
Also at the meeting, two groups of local students were recognized for recent accomplishments.
First, the DeKalb Huntley Middle School wrestling team – with their hair uniformly bleached blond – was honored for finishing their season with a strong showing at the state championship. Huntley sent 14 students to the tournament. This was the most qualifiers for a school in the Illinois Elementary School Association.
Additionally, Clinton Rosette Middle School and DeKalb High School choir students were honored for having multiple students selected to attend the American Choral Directors Association 2019 Conference. District 428 will send more students to the event than any other district in the state.