Alexander City and Tallapoosa County schools are putting funds from the Education Trust Fund Advancement and Technology Fund (A&T) to use through security cameras, audio enhancement and completing the 1-to-1 initiative.
Alexander City Schools received $805,159 and Tallapoosa County Schools received $754,855 from the state last year.
Alexander City Schools superintendent Dr. Keith Lankford said the city school system is using the funds this year for audio enhancement at Radney Elementary School, adding security cameras to all campuses and funding online classroom platform Edgenuity. The audio enhancement project has teachers wear lanyards that can video capture classes, can be used to review lessons and have a safety feature button.
“Without the (fund) this year we wouldn’t have been able to do the online Edgenuity because it’s expensive, but it’s one of the best software packages out there,” Lankford said. “But also the audio enhancement I know we wouldn’t have been able to do that because that was originally I think $175,000 was what we had budgeted for that. So there’s no way we would have been able to do those things.”
The city schools are also using the funds for HVAC and glass doors in a couple of its schools, according to Lankford.
Tallapoosa County Schools is completing the 1-to-1 Chromebook initiative and instructing staff on technology updates with the fund, according to superintendent Joe Windle.
“This Educational Advancement Technology fund has given us the resourcing we need to really now start over with the process and as we rotate devices out, then you create training, you create new purchases that in the process just starts over again,” Windle said. “We’re purchasing additional licenses because you’re adding devices. Now teachers have to have those licenses in order to use all of the resources that Google provides.”
The 1-to-1 initiative started in the high schools and was implemented down through the elementary classrooms. Because computers age quickly, the county system is looking at replacing original Chromebooks in addition to purchasing new ones.
“We’re finally at the expected outcome but now it starts over because technology changes so rapidly,” Windle said.
Windle thinks the county schools will receive more money in next year’s fund.