PRC School Board approves Chromebook lease

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 8, 2017

During Monday’s Pearl River County School Board meeting, several purchases were approved by the Board to prepare students and faculty for the upcoming year, including new maintenance trucks, school buses and Chromebooks for each classroom.
Every day, the majority of K-12 students go to school wielding an electric device, whether it be a tablet or smartphone. Though those devices are not used as an academic resource, students in the PRC School District next year will drop their books and pencils in exchange for Chromebooks.
“These students already possess the skill set to use this advanced technology and they provide more opportunities and advantages for both students and teachers alike,” PRC Superintendent Alan Lumpkin said.
Each classroom in the District will have enough Chromebooks for each student to use one in a classroom setting to enhance academic activities and communications between students and teachers while also providing the students with the best access to professional research.
The District will pay $891,685 for the Chromebooks over a 4-year lease, Business Administrator T.J. Burleson said. To ease that expense, Burleson said the four-year lease means the District will set aside roughly $231,000 per year in the budget to pay for the devices.
“These Chromebooks are a huge step for our students and teachers. Teachers will be exposed to the most updated practices of education while the students will be learning and building on their skills with technology they will use after they graduate here,” Burleson said. Also, because the District’s former outsourced maintenance company, J.I. Enterprise, is retiring, the District decided to develop an in-house maintenance department, which comes with other cost additions. Because J.I. Enterprise provided maintenance trucks in previous years, the District did not have to purchase their own. Now the District will need vehicles for that purpose. In response, the Board approved a motion to purchase three F-250XL trucks for the maintenance department, costing $21,000 per vehicle, Burleson said.
“These trucks will be used to travel from all of our campuses, including Carriere, McNeill and our baseball and softball complex off of Burke Station Road, and conduct necessary facility maintenance at those sites,” Lumpkin said. “Because we are moving maintenance in-house, these trucks are needed.”
Every year, Lumpkin said the District assigns part of the budget to invest in a new school bus to keep the buses updated. This year, the District is trying something new with the intent of providing safer transportation for its students. Monday, the Board approved the purchase of two school buses, each of which have seat belts for students, the only two buses district-wide with the safety feature.
“The fleet is getting old, so for the safety of our students, we felt having two new buses on board was a good idea,” Lumpkin said.
Though the state does not require school buses to have seat belts, Lumpkin said the decision came down to the children’s safety.
“This is something new for us. We will pilot these two buses and see if the seat belts have a dramatic impact on the students’ safety. If it does then we will continue to pursue buses with seat belts,” Lumpkin said.
The cost for one bus is approximately $113,995, Burleson said.

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