It looks like schools may get new computers before they get new roofs or HVAC systems.
Even though no major construction projects need to be delayed for now, school administrators said Tuesday that some smaller items need to be suspended. That list had included the district's computer replacement program.
But staff pulled the suspension of the computers off the list when school board members complained.
The school district's current $1.056 billion capital improvement program includes $35.2 million for technology replacement. Under Wake's PC Refresh program, the school district is replacing the older computers found in schools.
Administrators had proposed putting the PC Refresh program on hold for a year, saving $9 million. But the idea of suspending the computer replacements drew concern from school board member Beverley Clark.
Clark argued that schools, especially the older ones, need to have the PC Refresh program in place. Clark has made equity between older and newer schools one of her concerns over the past nine years.
Clark also raised concerns about equity between affluent and less affluent schools. She argued that more affluent schools would be less impacted by the suspension of the PC Refresh program because their parents can afford to buy new computers for the schools.
"Some schools don't have the parental resources to replace the computers," Clark said.
Clark's concern was soon echoed by other board members.
Don Haydon, chief facilities and operations officer, responded by saying staff would amend the list to keep funding in place for the PC Refresh program. But he warned that they'll have to find the $9 million elsewhere. He didn't say where on Tuesday.
What's still on the list to be delayed are life cycle projects such as replacement of roofs and HVAC systems. Instead of replacing them on a regular schedule, they'll only be done on an emergency basis.
Click here for the original list presented by staff.