A couple weeks back, school officials in Maine announced that they would be expanding their 1-to-1 laptop program. Now local school officials are beginning to question assurances that the program will be paid for and will not require any extra funds.
Although schools would not have to pay extra for the laptops themselves, they are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of those computers, which may require hiring an extra staff member—a cost that the district will have to foot, say superintendents.
I’m sure experts would agree with the superintendents that it’s essential to hire an extra person to deal with the sudden influx of technology. Without the proper support in place to help repair broken laptops and troubleshoot problems, having the laptops is going to be more of a hassle for students and teachers than a help, as anyone who works in school IT departments will tell you. And it does seem like someone from the governor’s or state superintendent’s office should have anticipated this “hidden” cost and let school districts know their responsibilities upfront.
While I’m sure those at the state level who are heading this program are well-intentioned, in difficult financial times like these, it’s important to lay out all the potential costs and make those transparent to school leaders.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.