Thousands of students and staff who return to Gilbert Unified School District schools in the fall will have new computers to work on.
The district is replacing 2,700 outdated computers districtwide, including at two junior highs, 15 elementary schools and older computers at its high schools, said Jean Holte, the district’s technology director.
The massive computer updating comes at the same time the Gilbert school board on Tuesday approved a district technology plan through 2013 and technology initiatives for the upcoming school year.
A technology committee began meeting in May 2007 to completely rewrite the outdated technology plan and work on the initiatives, Holte said.
“It wasn’t specific enough. It didn’t give enough direction,” she said. “If something comes up, a decision needs to be made. If it’s not already in the technology plan, we shouldn’t be doing that or we should be taking a look at it (the plan).
“We focused on initiatives we could accomplish with little or no funding,” Holte said.
One of the initiatives includes developing a districtwide professional development program to help integrate technology in the classroom.
The plan also includes a student portal accessible on the Web site where students can sign up to receive regular e-mails on any topics of interest.
Board member Elaine Morrison commended the effort and thoroughness of the plan at Tuesday’s board meeting.
“I hope we can get through it,” Morrison said.
The plan is to update the initiatives on an annual basis, Holte said.
The board also approved a short-term agreement Tuesday between Apple Inc. and the district to purchase computers that will be upgraded at the 15 elementary schools. It’s a 60-day-same-as-cash agreement with Apple for $2.26 million.
This allows the district to defer payment until funding from the $7 million technology capital budget override approved by voters last November becomes available July 1.
The district will get the computers in June and spend the month installing them.
The computers being replaced are 8 to 9 years old. The district received several hundred computers in 2000 from the School Facilities Board. However, the state didn’t have a plan to replace the computers once they became outdated, Holte said.
“The goal is to have everything up and running for the upcoming school year,” Holte said.