Northfield School Board Approves Teachers’ Switch to MacBook Laptops Over Summer Vacation | New


Seeing the opportune time to upgrade technology for staff, the Northfield School Board unanimously approved a four-year lease on MacBook laptops at its meeting on Monday.

In response to the record 145 computers needing replacement this year, Chief Technology Officer Kim Briske negotiated a lease with Apple for no more than $ 145,000 per year. However, as capital funding fluctuates, it is unclear what technology authorized and unauthorized personnel would use after the four-year lease expires.

The lease will include 350 MacBook Pros and corresponding adapters, 40 MacBook Airs and 125 Apple TVs. The total cost is nearly $ 555,000 made in four annual installments of approximately $ 141,000.

When Briske initially presented the plan at the March 27 meeting, the cost would have been $ 619,000 over four years.

Briske told the board on Monday that after reviewing the technology’s minimum repair costs with CFO Val Mertesdorf, AppleCare’s $ 60,000 extended warranty price didn’t seem worth it. ‘be included. Briske later added that of the 40 to 50 MacBook computers already in use by district staff, only one or two need repairs each year.

In addition, Casper Management will be purchased separately from the lease and will reduce the cost by waiving interest, Briske said. The technical team will still be able to receive on-site training and certifications through courses while the system helps track lost or stolen computers.

The district would be able to resell laptops at the end of the lease and use them to buy new computers, Briske told the board. In addition, it would provide a consistent schedule and budget for the replacement of staff computers.

In a survey made available to staff, Briske indicated that 89 prefer Macs versus 37 who prefer Windows while 96 prefer laptops to 42 who prefer desktops, leading the district to seek out MacBook laptops. . In addition to meeting preferences, it would integrate working with iPads for teachers and students while realizing a short-term priority strategic plan to have modern, innovative and flexible spaces, Briske said.

“The efficiency of working with a Mac and working with an iPad is quite exceptional,” Briske said in March.

Staff offices will also no longer be tied to the wiring Briske called obsolete, while moving from classrooms to wireless projection, although the district also does not have enough projectors ready to work with Apple TVs. . Collaboration and access to files, programs and bookmarks would be made easier, Briske said, while acknowledging that many would not welcome the change either.

While MacBook laptops can be hooked up to a larger monitor, Briske has reported issues with screen size, lack of disk drive, and smaller keyboards.

At the March 27 meeting, Board member Margaret Colangelo questioned leasing the laptops over buying them, which Superintendent Matt Hillmann called a capital improvement cost that is also usually paid for as a rental, like the addition to Sibley Elementary School. The lease, with a 1.25% finance rate, would provide a predictable timeline for purchasing infrastructure such as laptops rather than what they are currently doing.

Board member Noel Stratmoen also asked Briske what to say to community members asking why this can’t be delayed for another year. If the district bought more than 100 new computers this year, Briske replied, it would ditch relatively new technology if it waited until next year.

“We have the timing [and] we have the opportunity to enter into a lease, ”Hillmann told the board, adding that this was the most profitable year to make a district-wide change.

Computers four years or older would leave the district at no cost to recycling electronics, Briske said. Newer computers will go to office staff.

Briske added that Apple products have a high resale value, which has helped the district buy more iPads along with their used iPads. She indicated that if a 2012 MacBook Pro could sell for $ 400, they would carry even more weight with these new computers.

Responding to a question from Board member Amy Goerwitz about how many teachers teachers need both a laptop and an iPad, Briske said the iPad doesn’t was not a rugged enough device for teachers to simply replace their desktops as they need. It’s an opportunity for flexibility, not an expectation of bringing work home in the form of a laptop, Briske added.

“I can say for sure that they would be using their laptops every day,” Briske said. “I am in no way seeking to add to their charge.”

If teachers are sick and have their laptops at home, substitutes check a MacBook Air in the morning and check it before they leave, Hillmann said.

“I think we’re incredibly lucky to be able to do this,” Board chair Julie Pritchard said on Monday. “It’s an amazing business.”

Computers are expected to arrive before the end of the school year, but the change will take place over the summer.

Contact reporter Ida Mojadad at 507-333-3135 or follow her on Twitter @APGidamojadad.


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