Students in grades 5-12 will receive new personal school laptops after Pearland ISD’s board of trustees approved replacing the current ones at its Jan. 23 meeting.

What you need to know

The board approved the laptop purchases in a 5-1 vote with trustee Kris Schoeffler as the lone vote against it.

After receiving 22 quotes from companies, such as Dell, HP and Lenovo, PISD administration recommended awarding the contract to HP for $6.23 million, according to district agenda documents.

The quote includes accidental damage coverage, unpacking and waste removal, and 13,800 HP Pro x360 devices for students in grades 5-12, according to the documents.

Those opposed

Some of the reasons behind Schoeffler’s opposition to the purchase included a concern of the state of Texas being too forceful with the current use of technology within schools, along with mental health concerns from excessive screen time.

“I think we need to get a message to the state of Texas that because of the actions they’ve taken, our hand is forced, and we’re having to educate in this way,” Schoeffler said. “I think it expends our resources, I think that it’s misguided, I think we’re going to regret it. For that reason, I’m not going to support the proposal.”

Those in favor

Trustee Sean Murphy said he believes the personal school laptops will benefit students, especially for make-up days if students ever get sick or have to be away from school for an unknown period of time.

“If you have a kid that’s out with the flu for three days—in the past, they’re waiting to get back to school and waiting for a teacher to give them a lug of homework,” Murphy said. “They’re sick and at home, if they have that laptop then they can possibly do some of that Canvas work [from home].”

Although trustee Toni Carter said she shared similar concerns of excessive technology with Schoeffler, she believes the personal school laptops will allow students to keep up with technological advancements that have been made within the district.

“We were already moving towards technological steps in Pearland ISD and in education over the last 10, 15 years that just weren’t always accessible to all the students because we didn’t have one-to-one devices,” Carter said.