Kodiak students will have new technology when they return to school after summer break this year. 

The school district is planning to spend $1.5 million to replace all the iPads and laptop computers that town and village students use. 

Kodiak introduced one-to-one technology in 2018, meaning every student in the district got an iPad, with the Board of Education voting to spend more than $1 million to do so. 

That ended up being a smart move. When schools went online last spring and schools all over the country were scrambling for the technology to make it happen, Kodiak schools had the devices in place. 

“Our crystal ball was very accurate, to have one-to-one computers,” Superintendent Larry LeDoux said. 

“We found we could do just about anything we wanted with an iPad for just a fraction of the price of a laptop.” 

Those iPads got a workout with remote learning. Not only were all students remote for a big chunk of the spring and fall, but also some students have been only doing online all year as part of the remote-only option the district has been running since September.  

A memo from the technology department said that many of the devices are struggling to hold a charge and are generally getting worn down and needing attention. The new purchase will also include a keyboard and stylus for each iPad. 

The new order from Apple includes 2,520 iPads and 330 laptops. The iPads cost $294 each, while the laptops, which will go into computer labs in each building, are a mix of three models — 215 of them will be MacBook Airs, which sell for $1,069 apiece. 

The old devices will be sold to a reseller. LeDoux said there’s a range of prices the district can get for the used stuff. At the high end, it could be up to $500,000. 

LeDoux said that the order will go out in the next few weeks. The devices will arrive in late spring and they’ll go into students’ hands by the fall. 

The money is coming from a portion of the funds the district got from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Buying them all at the same time means they’ll all be the same model with the same capability.  But that’s not money the district usually has and the devices have often been bought piecemeal in the past. 

“We wouldn’t have the money to buy them otherwise,” LeDoux said. 

LeDoux and other school leaders have flagged the ability of students, teachers and parents to use technology proficiently as one of the few bright spots of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The COVID crisis, if you will, brought every teacher into core competency for using them and the software associated,” LeDoux said. 

“Many of them were using them before, but now it’s universal. … We have a very well-trained staff and well-trained students, so we can start taking advantage of that.”  

The board of education will vote on the expenditure next week.  

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