A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Distance learning: Here’s part of Albany’s cost

Written August 21st, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Chromebook distribution times have been scheduled at Albany middle and high schools, including Memorial.

Greater Albany Public Schools is trying to make sure all students from kindergarten through 12th grade have their own computer with which to take part in the online distance learning the district will offer this fall. I wondered about one part of the cost, and I got an answer today.

“In regards to technology,” GAPS spokesman Andrew Tomsky told me: “In order to ensure we have sufficient devices to provide to students for Comprehensive Distance Learning we are using various funding sources to procure 2,900 Chromebook devices at a cost of $580,000 (to augment the Chromebooks we already had in the district).”

Every school district in Oregon presumably is doing the same thing. So let’s hope the supply of these little laptops is big enough to meet the demand.

The school district has set up a Chromebook distribution schedule. For elementary and middle schools, the distribution points are the middle schools and Timber Ridge. The high schools have a separate schedule. The district published the details on its website here.

And it looks like the attempt to teach children long-distance via computers will last longer than anybody wants. Gov. Kate Brown said today that based on current trends with the coronavirus pandemic, schools may not be allowed to reopen in the regular way before April.

This is very bad news for many children and their families. In lost time and opportunities as well as dollars, the cost is hard to estimate but no doubt huge. Compared to that, the cost of GAPS buying a truckload of Chromebooks is not much. (hh)

15 responses to “Distance learning: Here’s part of Albany’s cost”

  1. Bill Kapaun says:

    Who pays for lost/damaged/illegally sold computers?
    Does every kid in the household get one or do they share?

    • johnny scot van ras says:

      And don’t forget the cost of internet service.
      Is GAPS going to pay for that?
      Is GAPS going to pay for child care?
      Why are the schools even being funded. I bought a Scholastic Reading & Math Jumbo Workbook for grades 1 and 2 from Bi-mart. There is also the online education program “ABCmouse.com”.

      In short, don’t fund schools, fund families! Give them the resources to adapt to this new normal.

      • Brad says:

        The bad thing about home schooling is that anybody can do it, whether they’re good at it or not. Have you seen some of the adults around Albany? Do you really want the kids of Albany educated by them? Things suck right now, but schools are being funded because they’re a good thing and we need them.

        • johnny scot van ras says:

          Brad, you are blaming home schooling? Home schooling is the exception and not the rule. And, i know some home schooling parents that i would love have teaching my kids. The schools are NOT teaching our kids and parents are forced to home school and child care. Given that, the $10,000 per student that the school system receives would go a long way to solving school related problems that families are currently forced to deal with.

          Voucher system for all. Just watch how many tutors find jobs and students get more personal attention,

  2. John Klock says:

    You fail to look at the cost of lives. Lives that cannot be replaced by a school budget. The larger impact of the pandemic is unknown, but we are not even making the Spanish flu standards of safety of 1918 that went through 4 waves and lasted a year-and-a half and killled 675,000. I guess you do not know of anyone who has gotten sick or died from Covid.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      JK- Assuming your response was directed at me?
      1. What does your response have to do with my questions other than a Lib answer intended to deflect from the REAL point.
      2. So you’re an Expert on the Spanish Flu? I doubt it.
      3.You don’t have a clue what or who I know. Another bogus response.
      You must be so proud of yourself. Now go hug a tree.

    • Al Nyman says:

      The last time I looked at Sweden’s death rate(lots of relatives live there) only 1 child had died from the virus and virtually nobody under the age of 50 so any comments about opening schools are not based on science as all the schools are opening in
      Europe as they apparently follow science better than our governor.

  3. Debra Schmidtman says:

    I read the other day that 97.3% of the people who die from COVID-19 are older than 55. Children and young people have a very small change of an infection that proves to be fatal. Schools should reopen and people should get back to work. Its the older population that is the most vulnerable and as we are mostly retirement age, we can self-isolate.

    • William Ayers says:

      Liberals believe a shutdown country will help them win the election, there’s not much chance of anything changing until after Nov 3. If Trump wins we’ll have to wait for the rioting to calm down until anything can open. If the Kamala wins they’ll wait a little while then have an epiphany that it’s suddenly ok to open. Conservatives are in the odd position of understanding that if we win we lose and if we lose we lose…

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      It’s the little kids running around while us “older people” are shopping etc. that are a large part of the problem.
      You want to mix them together 2-5 times per week and then unleash them on the rest of the population?
      You’d need a 9 month lock down quarantine building. Enter in early September, out in early June.
      I’m also concerned about our elected leaders going on a “power trip”, but sometimes the govt. is right.
      IF everybody masked up, we could be through this so much faster. It doesn’t take very many idiots to prolong this much longer and let govt. “grow” even bigger.

      • HowlingCicada says:

        Thank you for showing us that some conservatives recognize reality, despite the efforts of most of their leaders.

        “””You’d need a 9 month lock down quarantine building.”””
        For those (like me) who don’t follow sports, good experiment happening right now:

        “””IF everybody masked up, we could be through this so much faster. It doesn’t take very many idiots to prolong this much longer and let govt. “grow” even bigger.”””

  4. Dad McKay says:

    $200 a piece for Chromebooks seems medium to high retail. No volume discount? No discount for schools?

    • Brad says:

      Chromebooks are in short supply this year and typically going for 4 times their usual rate. And $200 isn’t bad considering the screens, memory, and battery life on those things.

  5. Bill Kapaun says:

    Why not just eliminate 10-15 teacher positions to pay for them? We could eliminate a lot more and only the teachers would notice.
    Think of the future savings on PERS. (talk about poking a sacred cow)

    Once the district buys these, you know they’ll be permanently integrated, which means UPGRADES every couple years.

  6. Antoinette says:

    Albany can do it…2 half day day sessions! 1/2 the class in morning, 1/2 the class in afternoon! Combine with at home class and that puts the kids back in class!


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