Grand Island School Board Approves $1M in Technology Funds

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With just about fifty precious minutes in a high school class, Grand Island Public Schools' director of technology Cory Gearheart found that too many were spent waiting.

Cory Gearheart: "It took five minutes to log in. They had to sit and wait. They got to the website; it took five minutes to get onto the website. It was unacceptable."

On Thursday, the Grand Island Public School (GIPS) board took a big step toward speeding schools into an increasingly computer-centered world, swiftly approving one million dollars over seven years to upgrade computer infrastructure and purchase software and portable devices.

GIPS business director Virgil Harden says the move is likely to save money.

Vigil Harden: "You put two new textbooks together, like an economics or government book and a new science book, the cost of those two books alone will pay for an iPad. An iPad is 500 bucks. Those books can be 200, 250, 285 dollars a book."

At Grand Island Senior High School, and faculty and staff are keeping their fingers crossed that their computer system will be fully upgraded in time for the 2012-2013 school year.

Kevin Pfefferle wrangles with the hardware and software issues at Grand Island senior high. "When you get 25 or 30 laptops in one area of the building trying to attach to the network, either the log-ins don't go through all at the same time, or if they do, once they access that website, everything is extremely slow."

Details, such as the distribution and use of new tablet computer devices, still remain to be worked out. For now school officials hope that, come fall, waiting for online services will be a thing of the past.