District Budget Brings Technology to the Classroom

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District Budget Brings Technology to the Classroom

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On Monday, June 2, the Regional School District 13 budget for the 2015-2016 year passed in the local vote. There was a major change in this year’s budget: it was proposed that every student at Coginchaug would receive a Chromebook, known as the One-to-One Initiative.

In an interview, Director of Information Technology Mr. Rich Fielding said, “Currently, there are no plans for cuts in the June 2 District Budget Referendum. If it doesn’t pass on [June 2], the tech Department may experience some cuts.”  Fielding added that if there were to be cuts to the budget, “it would specifically affect the One-to-One initiative”. Next year’s freshmen would still receive Chromebooks, but there may not be enough money allocated in the budget to supply Chromebooks to the rest of the High School.

Since the proposed budget passed on June 2, the IT Department is able to provide Chromebooks to High School.  With every student having access to a personal computer at all times, there won’t be as high of a demand for the in-school computer labs. For this reason the school is planning on reallocating the computer lab classrooms to be used for the classes currently being held in the portables such as special education and CAD courses.  There is plans to get rid of the computer lab in room 221 for the 2015-2016 school year whether the One-to-One initiative is implemented or not.  Fielding followed by saying that the closing of more in-school computer labs may follow.  Fielding stated, “by not replacing the school’s computer labs, money from the budget is saved and will offset the cost of implementing the Chromebooks.”  Fielding also said the real purpose of decommissioning the computer labs is not to save money on chromebooks, but to bring the classes held in the portables back into the school.

“The reasoning behind the One-to-One Initiative is that it levels the playing field for all students by having access to countless web resources without leaving the classroom. As well as it helps teachers manage their classrooms differently, with the option of flipping the classroom.”  Meaning students will use online resources to learn the content, and use class time to discuss and perform tasks that were usually assigned as homework.  The only concern he mentioned about this plan, is how the Chromebooks are treated by the students. “The number of repairs will be inevitably increased by quadrupling the number of Chromebooks in use” mentioning that there are plans for an insurance program that will help with the cost of repairs.

As of now the IT Department has not experienced any cuts in the budget, and since the June 2nd referendum passed this will not change. Because of this the High School still has the One-to-One initiative in place for the next year and Mr. fielding is hoping that it will stay in effect stating that “it is a great tool that the students are lucky to have at CRHS.”

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