Funding for technology approved

The plan to equip every student in grades 9-12 with a Chromebook has been in the works for some time among Anderson County School District officials.

Monday during the Anderson County Commission meeting, the first step of getting the one-to-one funding for high school students in the Anderson County School District in place for the 2017-2018 school year was initiated.

Anderson County Commission approved in a 15-0 vote, the Anderson County School system’s request to borrow $400,000 from its high school debt service fund (fund 156) to pay for equipping students in grades 9-12 at Clinton High School, Anderson County High School, and Clinch River Community School with Chromebooks.

The school district equipped its middle school students district wide last year with Chromebooks, but the overall mission for the school district is to eventually have a Chromebook for each student at all grade levels.

The number of devices needed to equip all high school students this coming school year is 2,350, school officials have stated.

School officials projected earlier this year at a school board retreat that the cost to bring the one-to-one initiative to grades 9-12 would be about $798,320, which includes the costs of protective Chromebook cases to prevent wear and tear to each device.

At the Monday meeting, Director of Schools Tim Parrott apprised commissioners that this year’s one-to-one funding amounts to almost $900,000, and that the school board is already looking ahead at finding ways to fund the initiative for year three and onward.

“We’re in our second year of the one-to-one initiative. We met with the budget committee about a month ago and at that time we talked to the budget committee and it was suggested we try to come back with an alternative instead of coming back and asking you all [commission] for money. Our board of education voted to use $400,000 out of our high school debt service fund for year two,” stated Parrott.

Parrott asked commissioners if they would approve the process of going forward with the funding, and explained the request for funding would come back to commission once it got approval from the state comptroller’s office.

Anderson County Commissioner Tracy Wandell (Dist. 1) made the motion to allow the school board to borrow $400,000 from their high school debt service fund to use in their one-to-one program.