MOKANE, Mo. - The South Callaway School District agreed to spend nearly $500,000 to implement iPads in classrooms districtwide beginning with next school year.
The decision came after a successful trial run in the fourth- and seventh-grade classes, where each student was assigned his or her own device to use on assignments in the classroom and at home.
Prior to the Wednesday night vote, the board heard from four teachers in those grades who presented on the benefits they saw in student engagement, enthusiasm and organization since using the tablet computers.
"We're so excited about that, and it's going to change the way we do business and really enhance student performance," Superintendent Mary Lynn Battles said. "It's just great for kids, and from the teacher's perspective, they've already discovered how much students are engaging the device."
The cost will include the iPads at a bulk educational discount, insurance coverage, protective cases and other support. The four-year leasing plan includes a buyout incentive: at the end of the lease, if the board decides to retain the tablets, it can pay just $1 for all the devices.
Battles said that should the board decide to do so, the devices might be sold at a discounted rate to their students or kept for other programs, amid other options.
"I see this as an annual expenditure, but it's in lieu of purchasing textbooks," said Battles. "It's not that the cost is offset, but there are other expenditures that we won't have because we'll have the iPads."
In other business, the board agreed to put out bids for new security measures such as automatic locking doors and security cameras, and pavement projects for the district.
The board also bid farewell to outgoing members Bill Lister and Susan Ward, and installed new members Todd Mealy and Heidi Powers.