$165 fee proposed for school iPads; Superintendent targets devices for students in Grades 5-12.

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Byline: Marc C. Sanguinetti

SHREWSBURY - Coupled with a plan to put iPads into the hands of more students, parents may be hit with a "technology fee."

The School Committee is considering a recommendation to expand its iPad pilot program in the coming school year to all students at Sherwood Middle School and some students at Oak Middle School and Shrewsbury High School. To sustain the program, committee members are being asked to consider charging parents a "technology fee" as early as September.

Superintendent Joseph M. Sawyer told the School Committee Wednesday that now is the time for the iPad program. He said the cost of buying the devices would come out of technology money already allocated in the Sherwood Middle School building project, not out of the appropriated school budget.

"This is the time to take bold action," Mr. Sawyer said. "This is a very, very wise investment."

Assistant Superintendent Mary Beth Banios said the proposed fee for iPads that students could take home is $165 a year, with a reduced fee structure for parents eligible for reduced or free lunches. School Committee members are also considering "school-use only" iPads with no annual fee, as well as allowing parents to buy their own iPads for their children's use at school.

Ms. Banios said the goal of the iPad pilot is to provide all students in the district in Grades 5 through 12 with personal electronic devices by 2016 to expand access to learning and increase collaboration and efficiencies in the...

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