BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - Beaufort County schools are taking a big leap with technology, but it will cost taxpayers. The Beaufort County Council has approved the school district's budget, which includes the district's iPad initiative program.
Riverview Charter School has been using iPads in the classroom and soon Beaufort County schools will be bringing them in as well for students in grades six through nine.
"The iPad initiative is really the next stop in gaining access to technology for all learners," said Dr. Derek Rhoads, Chief Instructional Officer for Beaufort County Schools. "So, the specific aspects of this initiative are middle school students. Title One schools will get class sets in the core academic areas of Math, Science, English, and Social Studies. Non-Title One schools are receiving two sets for two academic areas."
Through this initiative, they'll be purchasing more than 7,500 iPads. The funding to purchase around 5,300 of them is from the federal Title One funds for high poverty schools. The remainder of the iPads will be purchased by the district and will be paid for through a tax increase on businesses and second homes.
"The iPad initiative will give student the digital literacy skills and the digital creativity and critical thinking we want. When they do leave our school system, they will be prepared to not only enter but do well when they enter the next piece," said Rhoads.
What do tax payers think about all of this? While some are against the hike, others say it's a small price to pay.
"If you break it up into months, it's nothing for the benefits you get. You can get your kids more interested in education," said Nick Desai. "I think it's a no brainer."
The owner of Magnolia Bakery Cafe agrees and is willing to pay her share to help kids succeed.
"It will be a little tough but if it means helping the kids compete with technology worldwide," said Jang Johnsrude, Magnolia Bakery Cafe owner.
Soon more students will have this technology right at their finger tips.
The tax hike will be mean about an extra $30 on a $250,000 home.
As part of the district's school budget, teachers will be getting an extra 2 percent increase as mandated by the state and the district will let go of 30 school district employees.
Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.