March 13 2013 12:00 AM

Not for iPads only, bond proposal would raise $5.3 million over five years


Friday, Feb. 22 — The superintendent of East Lansing Public Schools says a bond proposal asking for $5.3 million to improve technology in the district won’t simply be used to pay for student iPads — but some of it will. 

The bond calls for a millage increase of 1.25 mills, which will raise $5.3 million for technology upgrades over five years. The vote is on Tuesday.

“We need to find a way to upgrade and update some technology infrastructure as well as instructional devices, security and communication systems,” East Lansing Superintendent Dave Chapin said. “It’s not simply going to be spent on iPads for students. It’s more complex than that.”

Any tablet purchases will take a backseat to security, which will be the first priority if voters approve the bond.

“The security issues will be front and center in the beginning,” Chapin said.

He said the district wants to expand security camera coverage and implement “buzzer systems” for entrances into all its buildings. The Lansing School District is also planning to spend roughly $500,000 to expand its district-wide security.

Here's a partial list of things the district wants to tackle if the bond is approved:

- Expand wireless for all school buildings ($274,000)

- Replace all school building phone systems ($254,000)

- Replace student and teacher computers ($616,000)

- Replace outdated classroom projectors with flat panel displays ($200,000)

Chapin said by stretching the bond over five years, the district will be able to keep up with rapidly changing technology.

“Money would be available in early May and people would see an impact on their July property tax bill,” Chapin said. “We would be working overtime over the summer to begin work so that there would be clear evidence of improvements in the fall when students return to school.”

There are roughly 600 Lansing residents that live in the East Lansing School District boundaries that will get to vote on the issue, said Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope.

As for the iPads, the district is trying to move away from the traditional, desktop-style computer labs to “mobile units that can be used in variety of settings,” Chapin said.