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Published June 07 2010

Fargo School Board members get new netbooks

Two years after receiving laptops for “paperless” board meetings, the nine Fargo School Board members will now receive new mini laptops.

The reasoning, officials say: They will allow board members to bring the small, lightweight computers home to review board documents.

“The netbooks just make more sense,” said Dan Huffman, the assistant superintendent of business services.

The nine netbooks that they’ll receive this summer cost a total of approximately $4,500 and came out of this year’s $2 million technology budget, he said.

The current laptops were purchased about two years ago for approximately $7,200, but board members can’t bring them home because staff members use them during the day.

Bringing the lightweight netbooks home to review documents will make them more efficient board members, board President Dan Fremling said.

“If we’re going to continue on the electronic board meeting format, we just need to do better at it,” he said.

When the board members receive the netbooks, their laptops will go to district staff to use.

The laptops cost about $800 each while the netbooks cost about $500 each.

This last school year, the district piloted the netbooks with students.

But, Jodell Teiken, the director of instructional resources, said students likely won’t see more of the netbooks this fall.

The mini laptops weren’t much cheaper, she said, and their small screens couldn’t accommodate some applications.

“We really probably won’t be scaling them up widely,” she said. “We just didn’t find them real workable.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515