Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco School Board members ditching laptops for iPads

LAND O'LAKES — Pasco County School Board members are getting brand new iPads.

It's not that their MacBook laptops with 17-inch screens aren't working.

"Mine is perfectly serviceable," board chairwoman Joanne Hurley acknowledged.

It's just that they want something new and lightweight to use as they navigate the district's new online agenda system, respond to e-mails and deal with other board business.

"I want to switch to an iPad," board member Cynthia Armstrong said. "It is more portable, and since I am out and about and around ... I still need to be in contact with e-mail. It allows me a much easier response."

The board will get the new gadgets at the same time they are pressing lawmakers to better fund the district's technology budget.

Many schools do not meet the district's goal of one computer station per three students, and some cannot properly implement computerized FCAT testing requirements. Some schools have computers and printers for which replacement parts are no longer available.

The board plans to use more than $1 million of its Race to the Top federal grant funding to support the schools' technology needs, as approved by the state.

Lynne Webb, president of the district's employee union, found it particularly ironic that the board planned to trade its laptops for iPads just a year after the state Legislature criticized all school boards for their cell phone use and required board approval to assign phones. Pasco was among the districts with the fewest cell phones in circulation, though all board members have one in addition to their laptops.

"I am all into technology," Webb said, noting that she has her own personal iPad — not owned by the union, she added. But "my iPad doesn't take the place of my computer. I haven't found an app that makes me computer-free yet. I am not sure this is the best use of funds at this time."

Hurley said the move to iPads, as requested by the board shortly after the November election, will save money. Staff told her that iPads with wireless Internet access cost just $499, and those with 3G service cost $629 not including the monthly service fee, while a new laptop would cost about $1,200.

At the same time, she said, the board members have the free basic cell phones that come with the district plan. For herself, Hurley even requested fewer minutes, reducing her monthly bill from about $60 to about $12.

"I don't think our board is at all extravagant when it comes to technology," said Hurley, who has requested 3G service. "I am simply asking that I have an iPad. I don't see anything wrong with that."

She said it was time to upgrade the board's technology from the laptops that members received about four years ago. The old laptops will go to schools for student use, superintendent Heather Fiorentino said, stressing that the board will not get to have both iPads and laptops.

But they must have something, said Fiorentino, who sports her own district-owned iPad: "It is in policy that we have to provide them with what they need to do their jobs."

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at

Pasco School Board members ditching laptops for iPads 01/19/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 8:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two Kissimmee police officers shot to death


    KISSIMMEE — Two police officers were shot dead in Kissimmee Friday night, Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs said.

  2. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  4. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.
  5. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire



    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, relies on the help of her mother, Tranda Webb, 62, as she recovers from the burns covering her body.