Wake County Schools

Wake school leaders hope to make technology a priority

Posted March 13, 2014

— Outfitting every Wake County student with a computer has been the talk of the district for years.

But the money hasn’t been there – yet.

Wake school board members hope to make technology a priority.

“We have a significant backlog to make up,” school board member Bill Fletcher said.

While there are some computers in Wake schools, many are outdated. And there’s never enough.

“The technology we have is inadequate,” Fletcher said. “The idea has got to be to have it in our operating budgets as much as we would air conditioning replacements.”

It could cost the district up to $25 million to provide every student with a computer. School leaders would also have to create a plan for how they would be used in the classroom.

“It is kind of the wild, wild west with technology in K-12 education,” said David Neter, chief business officer for Wake County schools.

And the latest in computing is always changing.

“Five years ago, tablets didn’t exist,” said Jim Martin, Wake school board member. “What’s going to happen five years from now? Where is the long term staying power?”

Many of the district's key decision makers say the schools need to catch up. Some state lawmakers want students to eventually take state tests on computers.

But the technology overhaul is not included in next year’s district budget.

Fletcher thinks it can happen.

“If the community decides technology in the classroom is important, then the funding will show up,” he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • U2 Mar 17, 2014

    Please, we have kids in the 8th grade that read at 2nd grade level. Last thing in our schools should be technology.

  • cringercat1862 Mar 14, 2014

    Seems to me the top priority is bussing kids for diversity.

  • Lysander Mar 14, 2014

    teoblitzI agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately there are way too many kids of all ages that are coming to school hungry, under clothed and abused. I personally have students dealing with homelessness, malnutrition, pregnancy, mental illness(personal/family). The socioeconomic situations for kids varies in schools according to neighborhood and feeding pattern.

  • whatelseisnew Mar 14, 2014

    Ah well. So left out of this article is the very expensive support plan for thousands of computers. Every day some number of students will show up at school with machines that are not working. Will they have spares available? Well they have at least one trained service tech at each school? Will they allow the children to UPDATE the software on these laptops? If not, they will need more than one tech available to do these updates. Will they be sure to isolate the schools network from the county and state network. If not, be prepared for viral attacks when a kid comes in and connects a virus infected laptop to the network. I can tell you supporting thousands of machines is a very very expensive bill. Buying the machines is just one factor of the cost. What I find humorous is, I once converted an online course to a powerpoint presentation that professors at a university wanted for teaching a class about servers. I tried my best to talk them out of it, but no go.

  • teoblitz Mar 14, 2014

    We talk about technology and the community is evidently asked to provide funding in this case, but as far as I can tell the students don't even have pencils, paper, and school bags at times. My opinion is that each parent(s) pays for their child(s) computers on a discounted payment plan. Parent(s) should be held responsible for supplies as well as helping their kids succeed with school work period.

  • Melissa Townsend Mar 14, 2014

    Ok... when are they going to make students a priority? So much money goes into technology and so little achievement comes out of it.

  • Lysander Mar 14, 2014

    I can honestly say I agree with something everyone has said so far! The GT/IB high school I work at updated the wi/fi a couple of years back to be the one of fastest in the system, but didn't update the laptops to be able to keep up. 1-2 programs in the school spent 1,000's on new desktops, but the rest of the school is still using the same ones for the last near decade. Factoring that students are freely allowed to access youtube on wcpss comps, and at my school the wi/fi password was leaked years ago to every kid and NEVER changed; students just use their phones to surf when they're denied a comp or there aren't enough. There IS money now for this fix as well as the other problems facing Govenment schools, it's a matter of who holds the purse strings and who's to gain from their opening.

  • ncprr1 Mar 14, 2014

    This is going to become a massive part of the annual budget, you don't just buy these things once. If they are serious about wanting to do it, they are going to have to get serious and stop wasting money on lots of useless programs.

  • wondrfl1 Mar 14, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I agree with this. With all the testing and assessment going on giving the teachers the time to teach should be a priority.

  • Matt Wood Mar 14, 2014

    I actually agree with a lot of these comments! Technology is great, but even when people have computers they still don't have the critical thinking skills to figure out how to use them successfully. One class a week in a computer lab should be enough exposure for K-8, maybe daily for one year in high school. Otherwise, we need to focus on the basics so kids actually know how to figure out real-world problems a computer can't solve!