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Darien Parents Want School Money Spent On Technology

Members of the Darien Board of Education listen to parents talk about the importance of technology at a public hearing Tuesday.
Members of the Darien Board of Education listen to parents talk about the importance of technology at a public hearing Tuesday. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

DARIEN, Conn. — Darien parents urged the Board of Education not to cut spending for school technology at a public hearing Tuesday.

"Technology is an integral part of the learning that goes on each day in our schools," said Susan Vogel, co-chair of the Council of Darien School Parents .

Darien has proposed spending $407,000 next year on technology. Vogel pointed out that 79 percent of this is for maintenance and upgrades to existing infrastructure. She also said that Darien is at the bottom of the list for area schools in terms of technology investment.

Julia Ford, co-chair of the Middlesex Middle School PTO, said that wireless access at the middle school must be upgraded. "Next year our students will be taking standardized tests online. Presently the administration at Middlesex will be unable to efficiently administer these tests due to inefficient wireless access."

She also asked the board to fund new computers for the Mac lab and mobile carts. The Mac lab computers are five years old, and the mobile carts are 10 years old, and have problems installing new software on their outdated operating systems.

Brianna Schneider, the budget representative for the Darien High School Parents Association, asked the board to support the $25,000 proposed for new library computers.

"Although we still think of the high school as new, the 52 computers in the library are nearly seven years old. These computers are used every period of every day and often by multiple students in a single period," She also pointed out that when the computers were installed, they were being used by 250 fewer students than they are today.

She also said it is important to fund tablets and projectors in the classroom. "Years ago it was much easier. You put up a chalkboard and it would last 50 years, but we all know that's not how technology works."

The Board of Education has proposed buying 10 Smartboards and 50 new laptops for special education classrooms. Anne Foster, the special education budget representative for the Council of Darien School Parents, said the Smartboards will help parallel what is being learned in the special education classes with what is being learned in the general education classes.

The Board of Education will vote on the 2013-14 budget at its meeting next Tuesday.

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