Rochester school board votes yes to iPads in classrooms - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester school board votes yes to iPads in classrooms


ROCHESTER (KTTC) -- After months of debate, Rochester Public Schools (RPS) will move forward with iPads in the classrooms.

Tuesday afternoon, the Rochester School Board approved the district's technology plan.

$3.8 million will be used to replace old computers.

$3.1 million will be spent over the next 3 years for the iPads.

"Initially, we were talking about buying 10,000 to 15,000 iPads which would've had a greater impact on property taxes," said Larry Smith, executive director of finance for RPS.

That number has been downsized to 6,750 iPads.

The iPads will be phased in throughout three years, starting with 2,250 iPads in 2013.

Taxpayers will not be affected.

"The property taxes will not go up because of the iPads because we've done some other things to reduce other areas of property taxes," Smith said.

The school board can choose to discontinue the iPads after the first year.

However, they're keeping up with Longfellow Choice Elementary School's progress.

First and second graders there have been using the iPads since April, as part of a pilot program.

"We've learned right from the beginning that it's a very fast process with the iPads. They seem to streamline everything from our teaching preparation to the tools that are at our fingertips to use with our classroom," said Ivy Manning, a first-grade teacher at Longfellow.

Manning says that those involved with the pilot are looking at ways to track the progress they've made with the iPads.

"We know by living and being in our classroom and seeing it through our students... we know it's improved our teaching a lot. But we know we also need to see that through our assessments and our data that we can show to everybody," Manning explained.

The first phase of iPads will come in during the 2013-2014 school year.

The board also voted in favor of a $7 million maintenance proposal, as well as consideration to replace Golden Hill School.

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