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Medford schools replace 488 computers

After cutting $11.9 million from its budget for next academic year, the Medford School District will spend $275,000 on new computers because the district relies on the technology to keep track of grades and attendance, Superintendent Phil Long said Monday.

Officials ordered 488 Dell computers at $491 each this month to replace aging machines at various district schools.

The School Board unanimously approved spending $240,000 on new computers and $35,000 on a computerized Dell storage device that will hold sensitive district data, including student and employee records, Long said. He said the purchase was necessary to continue district operations next year with minimal maintenance costs.

"This is now just an ongoing cost of doing business for our district," he said. "Our teachers, for example, have their grade books on their computers and that's how they monitor attendance, too."

Having a computerized system also allows parents to check their child's grades and attendance electronically.

The district typically spends between $275,000 and $500,000 to upgrade 10 to 20 percent of its technology each year, Long said.

The district bought the new computers through a state-negotiated contract with Dell, which ensured a low price, Long said. The new machines will replace computers purchased in January 2006.