Perkins Schools recently began to implement its adoption of the one-on one laptop program. Some Perkins taxpayers mistakenly believe the required laptops are a freebie funded by a federal grant.
Board minutes and answers to inquiries graciously provided by the Perkins schools treasurer are enlightening. First, Perkins Schools did receive a $500,000 STEM grant. The STEM grant was used to train teachers on how best to integrate the laptops into the curriculum. The STEM grant was not used to purchase or lease any laptops. Second, Perkins Schools will pay for the laptops out of its capital/permanent improvement Funds, which are your tax dollars. The Perkins school board approved two leases with Apple Inc. The first lease was approved on August 13, 2008, in the amount of $383,792 to acquire laptops for administrative and teaching staff. The second lease was approved on May 13, 2009, in the amount of $1,784,209.05 to acquire laptops for the students. The lease payments are spread out over four years.
Recent Sandusky Register articles quote two recently appointed Perkins School Board members. It appears new board members think Perkins Schools is on the right path regarding the laptop program. What do you think? To answer this question, I encourage all Perkins voters to take a good hard look at recent board decisions regarding expenditures on technology in light of the forecast of a nearly $6 million cash deficit by 2013 which is indicated in the Perkins five-year forecast adopted by the board this past May. Your belief needs to be heard by the board whether positive or negative and may impact how you vote when the Board comes knocking on your door asking for more tax dollars when the next levy is on the ballot.
John P. Cook Jr.