The Omaha school district is looking to spend more than $2 million to replace outdated computers at Title 1 elementary and middle schools.
David Patton, Omaha Public Schools' executive director of Information Management Services, previewed a plan at the Nov. 18 school board meeting to replace nearly 2,000 desktop computers and laptops that are at least six years old.
“We have 2,000 computers that were built in 2009 or older,” Patton said. “Some are 10 years or older.”
Pricing for the new computers has not been finalized, but an early estimate puts the cost at around $2.4 million. The district has about $3 million in leftover federal Title 1 funds that will cover the cost.
At Ashland Park/Robbins Elementary, 275 computers are ready to be replaced. Jefferson Elementary could get 86 new laptops and desktops under the plan.
Thirty-four Title 1 elementary and middle schools will be the beneficiaries. Title 1 schools receive federal funds to help their high-poverty student populations meet testing benchmarks.
OPS plans to purchase all Apple computers and can expect a discount from the manufacturer, Patton said.
Board member Lacey Merica asked whether the district had a replacement plan for non-Title 1 schools.
Patton said technology purchases were built into principals' budgets at those schools, but updating computers and wireless networks could be one initiative that comes out of the district's ongoing strategic planning process.
Superintendent Mark Evans has spoken before about the technology discrepancies among schools.
“We are a little unusual that we don't have a planned obsolescence program for technology,” he said. “Over time, you get inequities. Some schools are able to make do with private funds replacing computers or donors that are able to find resources that others weren't. It would be nice if we looked down the road and saw what a four-, five-year life cycle looked like for our technology.”
Patton is expected to come before the board again with final pricing options for the Title 1 computers.