BURLEY — Increased state funding has allowed Cassia County schools to lease 2,500 Chromebooks, more than doubling the number of student computers in the district.
And it brings the district close to having a one-to-one ratio of computers to students, a figure the district is chasing.
“This year we are chipping away at getting more devices in students’ hands,” said Chris James, the district’s fiscal manager. “The one-to-one ratio is the gold standard we are going after. We now have more than enough for all the students to use.”
Cassia High School and Albion Elementary School already had a computer for every student, and Oakley schools are close, said district spokeswoman Debbie Critchfield.
The district has 5,500 students.
“We may need to get a few more next year because we have a few schools that are not yet one-to-one,” Critchfield said.
In the past, James said, the district had bought computers rather than lease. But the district can lease three times as many Chromebooks as it could afford to purchase, saving about $20,000. At the end of the three-year lease, the company will take them back.
The computers will be kept in locking carts that can be rolled from room to room.
The district received $410,000 from the state, and the lease for the computers will cost $255,000. Schools will be given $50,000 to use at their discretion, and the rest of the money will go toward maintenance costs in the district.
The district received $80,000 more money from the state this year than last.
James said the district is already considering a new policy that would allow students to check out laptops for home use.