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BISD board hears technology report

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Bandera ISD's technology department, represented by David Brown, served up a report on the status of the district's technology during the board's regular meeting held Monday, Oct. 8.
Brown reported that the district has around 2,000 computers, ranging from iPads for Alkek kindergarteners provided by the Education Foundation, to servers to handle data storage.
The district rotates computer purchases on a six-year basis, Brown said. "We reuse our older computers for parts, or adapt them for more limited usage before finally recycling them."
In addition to the computers, the district's technology relies "on lots of things we don't see that keeps everything working," said Brown, "like cables, servers and fiber optics."
Like all of the district's other departments, technology has been "prioritizing and consolidating, just looking at our options" in a tight economy with budgetary constraints.
The district spends about $334 thousand a year on technology. "$55K is needed just for licensing every year," Brown said.
Brown told the board that previously, textbooks were funded by the State, but now its done locally and any funds left over can be used for technology. "We don't know how much we'll have available to spend until after textbooks are paid for," he said.
Board member Lee Haile wondered "Why do we even have textbooks any more?"
Board President Dr. Barbara Skipper explained that going completely digital may be the direction education will be taking, but "it's not as simple as it first seems. We have to have the infrastructure, the hardware."
Skipper agreed with Brown that financing the district's technology needs next year "is going to be a challenge for us. We need to contact our Legislators [about unfunded mandates.]"
Skipper also admitted that she had been in education long enough to remember the simple technology of black boards!