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School Board postpones decision on laptop project

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 14, 2000

BROOKSVILLE -- The School Board will wait until August before making a decision on whether to spend $226,000 this year on laptop computers for students at Fox Chapel and Parrott middle schools.

Board members said they like the laptop idea. But they expressed uneasiness over the cost and unanswered questions. Three board members were ready Tuesday to give a full go-ahead.

But they agreed to the delay so all members could have more time to ask questions. All agreed that they expect to approve the plan in August. The plan calls for 180 students -- 90 sixth-graders at each of the two schools -- to be handed a used laptop computer, valued at $750. Parents would have to pay only insurance costs, perhaps $60 a year.

While delaying a decision, the board told the schools to begin training teachers on the laptops and to solicit applications from parents who want their sixth-graders in the program. If each school gets more than 90 applicants, lotteries will be needed to chose participants.

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