High school approves $360,000 for student iPads

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VALLEY CENTER, Kan. -- Valley Center teens are anxious for next school year -- when the district will supply iPads for every student. The Board of Education approved the plan Monday.

"I'm so excited, " said Jill Seidl, a high school junior. "It will make it a lot easier. Everyone will have books on the same thing. You can't forget it. Everyone will be on the same page. You can have it at school and at home."

The concept of using this technology in the classroom isn't entirely new.

In 2012, the district started using iPads at the middle school. Those students will now start high school, using the same technology that they've become accustomed to in the past couple of years.

"The leadership that they'll be able to bring into our building in that capacity and helping us transition as Valley Center High School across the board I think is a neat aspect for them and certainly for us as a school entity." said high school principal Jamie Lewis.

About 1,100 iPads will be purchased for students and staff. Though it will cost roughly $360,000, the district says it will end up saving money.

According to information provided by the school board, the iPad, software and case cost $477 per student. Currently, laptops, textbook and supplies cost $1,051. Factoring those expenses, the district would save about $574 per student -- about $480,000 for the school.

"The Board entered into a three year lease purchase with Apple, which remarkably offered the district 0% financing," district superintendent Cory Gibson stated in an e-mail. "This lease is projected to keep the annual costs for technology fairly flat over the next few years. The Capital Outlay fund will be used to make the lease purchase payments. Apple temporarily reduced the purchase price of the iPads for our district by $70, which saved the district over $50,000 total."

Lewis said the plan is not just savings, but an investment for the future.

"We have an obligation in education to fuel the things that help kids flourish," he said. "So it's important that we embrace that and continue to develop and refine those skills."

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