I've written posts before objecting to public schools starting iPad pilot programs. My main argument was that they don't have the funds to follow through and give every student an iPad. Well, yesterday I came across a school district outside of Minneapolis that just proved me right.
The Little Falls school board just voted to spend 1.1 million dollars to buy 1,420 iPads and support equipment for 150 classrooms. This is an expansion of a pilot program that they ran last year with 220 students and teachers to cover all students in grades 5 to 12.
I'm all for getting gadgets for the students, but I really have a problem with how they're funding this purchase. They're cutting 75% of their $200k yearly textbook budget and diverting the difference to buy the iPads. The rest of the million dollars this will cost will be pulled from the operating budget. Yes, they're going to cut the maintenance to buy iPads.
You might think they have slack in their budget to cover this expense but I really don't see how. The economy and house prices have been down these past several years, which means any spare money in the budget has already been spent . This year's maintenance budget is almost certainly less than last year's, and with this new program it's going to shrink even more.
Also, thehas the cost broken out by line item. There's a mention at the end of the article about the proposed budget for 2011-2012. The Little Falls School District is short $124k on a $24 million budget.
Like I've been saying all along, there is no money for this.
image by Al_HikesAZ