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Guilderland school budget talks continue

Technology improvements are slated for all of the district's schools, with a budget totaling $947,193, an increase over last year's spending by $81,936. Of that amount, nearly $400,000 will be spent on seven positions within the technology department.

At the elementary schools, four laptop carts serve as mobile "computer labs" allowing students to utilize technology in the classroom.

"The only way we can get enough access for teachers to do projects and things like that, is to push the computers into the rooms," explained Chief Technology Specialist Joe Laurenzo. "The problem that we do have is an access problem. We're trying to spread them out (in grades) K through five."

Some of the computers are beginning to fail, said Laurenzo, while others are no longer under warranty. The district has proposed 125 new laptops with wireless access be purchased at a cost of nearly $173,000. The old computers will be used for parts and recycled, said Laurenzo.

"Would a computer lab model be more appropriate at some point and would that also give kids access after school?" questioned committee member Timothy Burke.

"Basically there's no space within the elementary schools to even carve out a decent size room," said Laurenzo, who estimated the cost of creating a computer lab to be between $75,000 and $80,000 "just to build the room, and we just don't have the space for it."

At the middle school, the district has proposed 40 new computers be purchased for the existing technology education lab, with a price tag of roughly $36,000.

"This lab right now is four years old," said Laurenzo. "Just like all of our other labs we try to refresh those labs, the hardware doesn't keep up, they get old, and in this case they're being used by every single sixth, seventh and eighth grade student." The district also hopes to purchase four multimedia presentation carts for $21,500. Technological upgrades for the art, physical education, and reading departments are also planned.

At Guilderland High School, technological improvements include the purchase of a new server, 25 new computers, nearly a dozen printers, four digital cameras and other supplies at an estimated cost of $42,000.

The next Citizens' Budget Advisory Committee meeting will be held Thursday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m.

The meeting will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable channel 16.""

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