Education, Local News

District 161 discusses plans to purchase Chromebooks and issue bonds

The Flossmoor District 161 Board of Education listened to the details of two plans at the June 12 meeting. The board members will decide if they should approve the purchase of 900 Chromebooks at the June 26 meeting. They will also consider a timeline for borrowing funds through the sale of bonds.  

Director of Technology Lennard Razor requested approval for the purchase of 900 Chromebooks. The district is considering the purchase of new Lenovo Chromebooks for students in kindergarten, third grade and sixth grade. The total cost for the devices would be $298,863. This quote includes a protective case and a Google Chrome license for each device.

Board members had questions about the effectiveness of Chromebooks in the classroom. They were also concerned about spending a similar amount annually. According to Razor, the pace of technological advances and wear and tear on the devices makes it necessary to supply students with a new device every three years. Replacements for other grades will be on a rotating basis.

Razor and Superintendent Dana Smith agreed that Chromebooks are the most cost-effective option for serving students’ education needs.

In other business, Bob Lewis, senior vice president and managing director of PMA Securities, presented a timeline and explained the necessary steps for a bond sale to fund the district’s long range facilities plan. The board is considering borrowing between $10 million and $13 million.

Board members had questions and concerns about the impacts on taxpayers resulting from the bond issue and repayments. According to Lewis, the board’s actions could potentially result in a property tax increase for homeowners in the district. He said that an increase in property taxes might also be offset by relief grants.

The timeline proposed by Lewis indicates that the district will immediately begin the steps necessary for acquiring the funds. The schedule implies that President Carolyn Griggs will sign an order to initiate a bond issue hearing at the board’s June 26 meeting.

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