Price of Computing Rises in Columbia
The school board has approved a 3-year plan for $11.5 million to update technology in and out of the classroom. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requires all school districts to update technology plans every three years.
"We broke it down and we need to have X amount of dollars for the infrastructure, X amount for desktops and X amount for safety," explained Curt Fuchs, head of technology services.
The district has a $7.6 million technology budget. The additional money is for computers, Internet use and staff. The cost of the technology program covers everything from computer maintenance, including managing 40,000 e-mails a day, 500 miles of wiring and the equivalent of 4 billion texts a day in stored materials.
"I think Columbia Public Schools is far ahead of a lot of schools in their technology efforts, not only with equipment, hardware and software but with implementation and integration into the curriculum," said Susan Nichols, Gentry Middle School media specialist.
Three years ago, the district bought phones for classrooms, paid for teacher technology training, and hired more technicians. Now the board is looking for ways to spend the new funds.