Rental fees, enrollment growth could help pay for iPads in Farmington schoolsFarmington School District finance director Carl Colmark will present school board members with options tonight for funding a plan to buy iPads for all students and teachers. Options include a $50 rental fee for students and counting on iPads drawing increased enrollment.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Rental fees, enrollment growth and a one-time payment from the Farmington School District’s general fund could all help pay for the purchase of new iPads for Farmington students.
Those are the options finance director Carl Colmark will present at a school board workshop scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Boeckman Middle School. Colmark said he is looking for feedback from board members about how to proceed.
According to information sent to board members Monday, buying 6,935 iPads for all district students and teachers – plus improving technology infrastructure and making other changes --would cost an estimated $883,672 in the program’s first year. If the district proceeds with the plan, it would pay the bulk of that with $600,000 from its capital expenditure technology budget, but that still leaves a $280,000 gap to fill.
Colmark’s options for filling that gap include a $50 annual rental fee for students, which would raise $184,000 in the first year.
Colmark said the district could also see increased enrollment next year from students enticed by the presence of iPads. If the district adds 60 students because of the program – either because students choose not to enroll elsewhere or because students from outside the district choose Farmington Schools – it could mean an additional $313,440 in state funding.
The third option involves the district making a one-time payment from money it has set aside for unexpected expenses.
The district could also see some savings down the line thanks to the iPads. The addition of the tablet computers could help the district as it attempts to cut down on paper use over the next four years. And Colmark said there could be a savings on textbooks if the district switches from printed to electronic materials.
“It could save us $100,000 a year, give or take, going with ebooks as opposed to hardcover books,” Colmark said. “That’s something that’s still evolving.”
The overall price of the iPads could also change. The numbers made available Monday use a cost of $375 per 16 GB iPad plus another $100 for a case and software. Those figures count on a three-year lease-to-own program. Colmark was still waiting Tuesday afternoon for figures on a two-year lease program that would involve the district giving the devices back once the lease was up.