PA District Lags in Technology

Hempfield (PA) Area School District administrators are disputing a study from its own consultant that found the district was behind in technology spending.

The report from Pepperweed Consulting concluded that lack of spending was negatively impacting curriculum because aging equipment made it difficult for teachers to introduce new subject matter into their lessons. The consulting firm noted that many district computers are five to eight years old, when a typical lifespan is three.
Pepperweed said Hempfield spends $66 per student compared with $161 per student for Gateway School District in Monroeville. Other school districts in the state that are similar in size to Hempfield, which has more than 6,600 students, spend even more, according to the report.

However, Hempfield Business Manager Jude Abraham said Pepperweed's figures do not include money spent on technology to accompany new curriculum that requires the use of laptops and newer software.
School Director Jeff Weber, who heads the technology committee, said when the district implemented a new social studies curriculum, the software "was very expensive." The curriculum for the secondary schools cost $420,000.
"It would push spending to $100 per student," Weber said.