Falls School Board approves laptop lease

Oct. 23, 2012

Menomonee Falls - The Menomonee Falls School Board on Monday unanimously approved a three-year lease agreement with Providence Capital Network, to kick off the ninth-grade laptop program.

The cost to lease 350 laptops with cases is about $63,000 per year for the three years. This cost is already built into the 2012-2013 operating budget. Each laptop and case costs $620.

"Leasing, we determined, would be the best option in helping us plan the budget and future expansion of the program, and the battery life is three years," Business Director Jeff Gross said.

This is the first year for the laptop program. The district is testing the success of the program, including the fees and the devices with the incoming freshman class. The program will be reviewed at the end of the year to gauge its success and determine any necessary changes.

As part of the agreement, there is a guaranteed $100 per unit "buyback" of the equipment that will be used to offset the remaining balance on the lease. At the end of the lease term, Gross said the district can also either purchase the units for $100 or make them available for purchase to families in the district.

"The company does guarantee at least a $100 buyback; anything above (the) $100 (value) goes into the district (general) fund," he said.

Once the laptops reach the senior class the units will be cycled down to the incoming freshmen class unless the reach their three-year lease life.

"Ignoring technology would not be right of us," student School Board member Emma Brose said in support of the lease agreement. "Ignoring what can help us grow as students would not be OK."

There are two different fee options offered for incoming freshmen as part of the laptop pilot program. Students and parents can choose a minimal fee and pay if damages occur or they can elect to pay a higher fee that would act as insurance and cover the entire cost of damages.

The first option costs $10, which is a maintenance fee students have to pay in order to receive a school district laptop to use for the year. These students would then pay per incident for any damages that may occur.

The second option is a $35 total fee for the school year, which covers accidental damage in full for the entire year.

All fees will be placed into a separate fund to be used specifically for repairs and other related unrecoverable charges.

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