The board of education voted unanimously last Tuesday night to purchase 10 laptops, one for each member of the board and one for Superintendent Dr. Darrell Sorrells.
The idea to purchase the laptops stems from the boards current goal of becoming a Georgia School Board Association (GSBA) Board of Distinction.
Board of Distinction awards are given to school boards that have met six special criteria established by the GSBA.
One requirement, GSBA states, is to integrate technology into the operational functions of the school board.
So, instead of shuffling through stacks of paper, board members will now click and scroll their way through their monthly agendas.
Before taking the final vote Tuesday night, board member Tommy Sanders asked that the board consider delaying the vote until their November meeting.
Ive had several calls about this from people, said Sanders. They would like the opportunity to voice their opinion on this before we vote.
During their work sessions held on the first Tuesday of each month, the school board allows interested residents to address education-related concerns in a public forum.
Sanders said he had no problem with the purchase, but hoped the board would table the decision about buying the laptops until next month. However, the board voted 6-3 to go ahead with the computer purchase.
Voting to hold off on the decision until next month was Sanders, along with board members Bettie Faye Lewis and Rick Lundy.
Board member Jerry Baldwin said that he also received calls from residents about the laptop program, but had explained to the callers that the purchase would have many benefits.
I told them that it would save paper, ink and central office employees from driving all over every week to deliver our papers, Baldwin commented.
Sorrells agreed, stating that he believed the laptops would pay for themselves. Currently, two school district employees make weekly, sometimes more than once-a-week trips, delivering paperwork to board members, Sorrells explained. Figuring the cost of gas at $2.60, Sorrells said he feels that between $150- $175 would be saved each week by conducting the majority of their paperwork on the laptops.
Baldwin, who chooses not to be paid for his service to the school board, said that the money the board saves by not paying him could be applied to the laptop purchase.
Board member Regina Roberts agreed, stating that she voted not to table the purchase in order to not prolong the decision and that she had no problem with giving up my BOE salary to pay for it if it would make it easier for the taxpayers.
Board member Bobby Brooks felt that residents wishing to speak out on the decision still had the chance. I feel like if anyone wants to speak to it and changes [a board members position] we can always rescind the vote.