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Baltimore Co. Schools Approve Major Technology Contract

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Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Learning goes high-tech. Baltimore County has a plan to become the first state school district to put laptops in the hands of every single student. But it comes with a whopping price tag of $205 million, which has some questioning where the money is coming from.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the new program.

Tuesday night, the school board approved what some say is their most expensive contract ever to put laptops in the hands of all students and teachers.

The area’s largest school district is going digital.

“We wanted to make sure that kids have access and opportunity to our curriculum 24/7,” said School Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance.

The Baltimore County school board has approved a plan to give every student new HP EliteBook Revolves, a combination laptop and tablet.

“This is the next step in that movement to transforming the teaching and learning process,” said Chief Academic Officer Verletta White.

The school district will work with Daily Communications to lease the EliteBooks for four years.

The first devices would be handed out next year at 10 elementary schools for students and teachers in grades one through three. All instructional staff will also receive EliteBooks.

The $205 million program will expand over the next seven years until it includes the entire district.

Some parents are excited about the technology upgrade.

“I think the keyboarding skills and learning to interact with a computer at an early age can only help them. I mean, where are things going? Computers,” said parent Chris Cheek.

Others are skeptical about who’s paying for the program.

“I’m just worried about where the funding is going to come from. I just don’t want it to cut into an operating budget that’s already very tight,” said Yara Cheikh.

School officials are still trying to figure out funding.

“There’s still some critical questions we have to answer,” Dance said.

But they say the program will push their 150,000 students and teachers into the digital age.

School officials say they will focus on making the program successful in the first 10 schools before expanding.

The superintendent says the school district can get out of the contract for a number of reasons, including lack of funding.

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