Huntsville City Schools upgrading school-issued laptops

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - With Huntsville City Schools' current laptop lease set to expire at the end of this school year, officials decided it was time for an upgrade.

Thursday, the district unveiled its new laptop for both teachers and students for the next three years, the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga.

"What this tool is going to allow us to do is stay current with the technology that's going to drive really quality, rigorous instructions," said the system's IT Manager Heather Bender.

Some of the criteria used to pick the device included weight, durability battery life and touch screen capability. After six months of evaluation, including public surveys, Bender said the district made the selection based first on technology and then on the price tag.

Here is a link to one version of the device.

"We really thought that as a committee, it was important that we get our teacher input, student input, community input, anyone who wanted to see these, whether you use it or not."

The new three-year lease, which will start for the 2015-16 school year, will cost the district $16.4 million for 22,000 laptops. At $744 per device, the financial commitment from Huntsville City Schools is 17.3 percent less than the laptops currently in use.

With the money saved, the district opted to add an enhanced services agreement to help maintain the devices. In total, the new lease will cost Huntsville City Schools 1.8 percent less than the current lease.

The new laptops are expected to be in place for students by the start of the next school year. The district hopes to have devices ready for teachers by the end of the month.