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Board of Education votes to purchase iPads

Just as Apple releases its latest and thinnest version of the iPad, Langley Board of Education voted to buy nine of the popular tablets.

The board voted in favour of going paperless, which the business case says will save dollars and trees.

To purchase the iPads, seven for trustees and two for staff, will cost $7,000. Software costs and training will total $25,125. But over five years, it will save the board $76,280 in paper, printing and courier costs, said secretary-treasurer David Green in a report to counsel.

Trustees were asked to vote for one of three options at their last meeting. The first one offered trustees $600 per year to purchase their own technology to access the eSCRIBE program that they will use to see agendas and background reports, etc.

The second option was to buy the iPads, and the third was to buy Notebooks, which are slightly cheaper than iPads.

Some trustees weren’t happy that staff felt the iPads should be left at the district office, and not taken home for personal use.

“Staff put that in because of concern about personal use and downloading apps. But we could create a policy for how to use the iPad,” said superintendent Suzanne Hoffman.

Some trustees weren’t totally sold on buying iPads, said chair Wendy Johnson.

“Some trustees have different levels of comfort with this,” she said.

The board agreed to review the effectiveness of going paperless in a year’s time.

But Trustee Megan Dykeman pointed out by then the money will have already been spent. She opposed the iPad purchase.

“I’m not opposed to going paperless at all,” said Dykeman after the meeting. She said her concern was with how quickly Apple changes its technology. The iPad has already gone through several versions in its short existence  and the expensive tablet will need to constantly be upgraded, she said.

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