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School Tech Director Warns 88% of Teacher Devices to Be Outdated

At New Lisbon School District in Wisconsin, Technology Director Ross Hurley said many teacher computers from 2013, interactive white boards from 2008, and electrical wiring in school buildings need be replaced.

Outdated Tech
(TNS) — The New Lisbon School District’s technology director is warning that the district will soon need to replace at least 88 percent of teachers’ computers, one of several updates the school needs to avoid becoming outdated technologically.

Technology Director Ross Hurley told the New Lisbon Board of Education at a regular school board meeting Sept. 13 that 51 of the teachers’ computers currently in use at the district are from 2013 and failing.

“They’re super slow,” Hurley said. “They’re all dying at once.”

Hurley estimated that new computers to replace the outdated devices would cost approximately $1,000 to $1,500 each, and he is working on a plan to replace the devices. According to Hurley, the ideal replacement length for the computers is six years – though a stretch to seven years can work if necessary – but these devices are now in their eighth year of operation.

The district’s smart boards, an interactive white board teachers can manipulate that is connected to their computers, are from 2008.

“We gotta replace those as well,” Hurley said. “The operating systems keep updating but the smart boards aren’t compatible.”

Further slowing down the teachers’ computers is the wiring in the building, which consists of CAT5 cables from 1995. The current generation of wiring is CAT8. Hurley said rewiring the building would be expensive, though he did not give an estimated price, but rewiring would allow for improved phone systems and improved Internet speeds if the teachers’ devices were updated as well.

The students’ devices, Chromebooks for grades 2-12 and iPads for kindergarten and 1st grade, are all relatively newer and do not need to be replaced. Hurley said the district has achieved a 1:1 ratio for students to devices, with all students in the district having their own device.


New Lisbon District Administrator Adam Englebretson gave an update to the board of education on COVID policies and funding, enrollment numbers and postsecondary credits.

Although the official third Friday count, where the enrollment numbers are finalized for the year, is on Sept. 17, Englebretson said current enrollment numbers show an increase of 32 students from last year’s projections.

According to statistics provided by Englebretson, 62 students in the 2020-21 school year participate in some type of postsecondary opportunity, with students earning more than 150 credits.

“That’s $25,000 worth of credits (students are) leaving New Lisbon High School with,” Englebretson said. “We want to expand on that ... we’re looking to grow that program as we can.”

Entering the second school year contending with COVID-19, Englebretson said the district is continuing to provide parents letters indicating when a positive case has occurred and the grade effected. Members of the board asked Englebretson to continue providing those letters, but indicated the district no longer needed to maintain the COVID-19 dashboard on the district’s website.

In discussing the letters, New Lisbon School Board President Colleen Woggon said that “transparency is a good thing,” and the letters could potentially limit exposure due to the parents receiving the warning.

Englebretson said the district has received a final number for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, or ESSER II funds, of $1,003,055. The funds, which Congress authorized in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, are provided for mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and student learning loss resulting from the pandemic.

The district has not decided on how they will spend the funding, though Englebretson noted at least 20 percent of the funds must go toward “some type of curricular area.”

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