SMMUSD HDQRTRS — The Board of Education could spend up to $34.4 million to upgrade technology across the district.
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials presented a rough sketch of the types of technological improvements that are needed and provided a liberal estimate of what the first phase might cost.
The cash would come from a bond, approved by voters, and be spent on software, hardware, new staff, and more.
One big ticket item, a network upgrade for 809 classrooms and workspaces, could cost about $9.2 million.
When too many people use the current network, said Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Terry Deloria, it times out and blocks users. With all the other proposed tech upgrades, it’s likely that the network will be burdened even further in the future.
New hardware in classrooms could cost nearly $11 million. Some of the items include interactive whiteboards in all classrooms ($3.3 million), two LCD projectors in every classroom ($1.1 million), and audio amplification systems in every classroom ($1.1 million).
District officials are also hoping to purchase enough Chromebook laptops so that there is one available for every student in the third, fourth, and fifth grades ($1.1 million).
“We expect that at some point in our future we’ll be one-to-one in our district,” Deloria said. “I don’t know what that looks like — whether they all go home, or what grade levels —but at some point in the very near future all of our students will have devices in school every day.”
Laptops would be purchased for every English class in the middle school ($2.3 million) and high school ($840,000). Many of these purchases are necessary under a new nationwide testing program called Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), which is taken on computers. Upgrades for the SBAC test could cost up to $4.7 million.
Deloria made clear that these numbers are high-end estimates, as many of the current computers won’t need to be replaced.
The libraries could see a $2.1 million upgrade. Computer labs may get a $2.5 million shot in the arm.
Deloria recommends adding a new district position to oversee all of the new technology: Director of Educational Technology. They may also add 10 technology coaches and an administrative assistant with the bond money. Substitute teachers could be procured for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years so that the classroom teachers can receive technology training.
All told, the district could spend $3.6 million on new staff and staff training.
Student Board Member Alaleh Mokhtari, a Santa Monica High School student, was particularly interested in training teachers.
“From what I’ve seen in the classroom, at my high school level, we do use our computer labs and technology a very decent amount but our curriculum is really based around notes and paper,” Mokhtari said. “I mean we really only visit the computer lab, in a typical classroom, maybe three to four times a year.”
Costs and needs will be made more specific as the process moves on. Board members expressed interest in moving forward with the improvements.

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