The Tucson Unified School District will spend up to $3.7 million to increase technological resources at dozens of campuses.
The money will be used to purchase laptops for two separate groups — 63 schools that serve elementary-age children and 14 racially concentrated campuses that lack technological resources.
In all, 3,268 computers, most of which are laptops, will be purchased, along with 103 carts that allow for the equipment to be moved between classrooms.
TUSD has worked over the years to replace outdated equipment and is now striving to ensure that students and staff have access to technology in every classroom.
While the expenditure approved by the TUSD Governing Board on Tuesday night does not meet that goal, it is a start, said Scott Morrison who oversees the district’s technology services.
TUSD elementary schools, for example, are receiving 30 laptops each, which will serve only a fraction of students at any given time. But teachers can reserve them for students.
In addition to students increasing their familiarity with computers, the equipment will be used to help prepare for online testing, which is new territory for many Arizona students.
Teachers are also receiving training on incorporating technology into the classroom and curriculum, Morrison said.
The elementary-school laptops are being purchased with $1.9 million from the general fund — money that was previously set aside for this purpose, Morrison said.
In addition to the elementary-school initiative, TUSD, in consultation with its desegregation plaintiffs, worked to identify racially concentrated schools lacking computers. Those schools — Bonillas, Davis, Lynn-Urquides, Manzo, Miller, Tully, Vesey and Drachman elementaries; Robins and Roskruge K-8s; Mansfeld, Pistor and Valencia middle schools; and Cholla High Magnet School — will receive a total 338 desktops and 1,040 laptops.
The cost of those computers will be covered by desegregation money and is not to exceed $1.8 million
The new computers are expected to be in place for the new school year.