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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hillsborough details iPad costs

TAMPA -- Just how much is the Hillsborough County school district paying for each of those 900 iPads going to two middle schools?

Lots of people have been asking since we first reported on the School Board's unanimous vote Tuesday to move forward on the plan. And at first, it wasn't quite clear.

The agenda materials said only that the cost for the devices "and services" came to $1,004.11 per unit, and that the total project cost "exceeded $50,000." (It only emerged at Tuesday's meeting that the estimated cost could be as high as $903,000 if each school enrolls 400 students.) Officials said the unit cost included unspecified training, equipment and technical support.

Today the district provided more details. Under the proposal offered by Apple, each iPad 2 will cost $479, which includes a $20 bulk discount. Hillsborough is also buying carts, warranties, adapters, deployment services, and a laptop to run each cart. (Pay no attention to the $35 iPad covers in the proposal; district spokesman Steve Hegarty says they'll buy less expensive generic covers.) The district is also purchasing $14,800 in Apple education training, and may spend more money on further training down the road.

Below are those proposals and an outline of some of the training Hillsborough sessions, which appear to have been underway since March. One day-long session ran from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. today, Hegarty said.

For those hoping to do the math, he said, please note that the proposal covers just the first 100 iPads for teachers -- not final cost for all the devices, carts and other equipment, which could change if enrollment differs from projections.

All of this is coming from federal Title 1 and Magnet Schools Assistance Program grants, not the district's $1.7 billion operating budget, which is still around $28 million short for next year following historic state funding cuts. Officials have scheduled a School Board workshop for 9 a.m. this Tuesday to figure out how to close that gap.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 19, 2011 4:10pm]

    

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