School District spends about $1 million on iPads and says the deal will save a lot of money

The Kodiak Island Borough School District is leasing around 2,700 iPads for about $1 million. ( Photo by kun530/Flickr)

Mitch Borden/KMXT

The Kodiak Island Borough School District is spending about $1 million dollars on iPads and accessories. That price tag may be a little shocking, especially when the district is making a lot of cuts to its budget and is requesting more funding from the Kodiak Island Borough, but school staff says this purchase is actually saving a lot of money.


In a 21st century classroom, Melissa Haffeman the Kodiak Middle School Principal, says computers are a necessity.

“Technology has become the pencil, essentially. So, every child needs access to a device primarily for research and what we aim for and aspire for is creation.”

Haffeman heads up a committee looking into what hardware the Kodiak Island Borough School District uses and how it buys it. On the committee’s recent recommendation, the district made a big investment. It’s paying around $1 million for about 2,700 iPads along with other accessories.

Haffeman says she understands if people are alarmed by the price tag because that’s a lot of money.

“The $1 million looks very misleading because it looks like it’s $1 million this year and the natural assumption would be, ‘Oh well you’re just going to spend another million dollars next year and the year after that.”

The district is actually leasing the iPads from Apple for four years with the option to buy. Haffeman says at the end of the lease, ownership will be transferred over to the district for a very minimal fee. And, according to her, the deal’s majorly reducing the amount the district spends on technology.

Before this contract with Apple, it’s estimated the district spent around $500,000 to $750,000 annually on technology. With the Apple lease, the district will only pay a fraction of that price in the coming years. Haffeman says that’s because of two things.

“We standardized on a relatively cheap piece of equipment, which is the iPad and the sell back.”

The sell back is key. The school district is selling its entire inventory of computers and iPads to a business that repurposes old technology. It’s estimated the district will get around $800,000 for its old hardware and that money will be put towards the iPad lease.

So, instead of paying $1 million out of pocket, the district is actually paying closer to $250,000 for the four-year lease on the iPads. Haffeman says not only will the deal potentially save the district millions of dollars, but it also gets up-to-date technology into the hands of students. She thinks if the district had waited any longer its budget could’ve been cut and kids would’ve been stuck using aging computers and iPads.

“A bulk of them are already five-years-old and so then they’d be six-years-old and seven-years-old and then you’ve got problems with operating systems and software compatibility and they just start to break.”

Even though the district is getting a great deal on its iPads and a good price for the hardware it’s selling, Haffeman thinks this is probably going to be the lowest amount of money the district will spend on technology going forward.

The equipment it’s currently selling is worth more than the iPads the district will sell in a few years. So, the district can’t rely on getting as much money for its old technology later on.

But Haffeman says the district won’t spend as much as it used to, and it has time to plan how it’ll pay for future purchases.


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