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Eau Claire Area School District to provide devices for all students

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 10:15 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - It's unclear at this point how the Eau Claire Area School District, and many districts across the state, will proceed with next school year.

Whether that is all in-person, all online, or a combination of those two.

But each student in the ECASD will have their own device for the upcoming school year.

The decision was made by the school board Monday evening to provide 7-12 graders with a laptop and all other students an iPad.

“It’s going to be a different environment going into the school year. We’ve learned a lot of lessons, but we think we can do a lot better. So we have a multi-tiered approach in terms of trying to support the training of our staff to be much more effective at supporting students moving into the school year,” said Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Jim Schmitt.

The board voted to lease the devices for the next four years, which will cost approximately $5 million in total.

“If we just committed a certain dollar amount to tech needs, as far as devices go, it would look similar to the capital plan we do each year and bring forward to the board. And that really does help level out our budget because we know that we are committed to x number of dollars each year for the budget related to devices,” explained Executive Director of Business Services Abby Johnson.

Most other districts in Wisconsin similar in size to Eau Claire are going the 1:1 device model for the upcoming school year as well.

The district says there's a high likelihood that all the devices will not be ready for the beginning of the school year.

The board also discussed to ‘Bring Your Own Device’ model, but said that presented many more challenges than the district providing devices for each student.

Monday also marked the first school board meeting for the new superintendent, Michael Johnson.

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