$1M iPad spending plan gets cold reception; Selectmen question timing, budget impact.

Byline: Sandy Meindersma

RUTLAND - Wachusett Regional School District Superintendent Thomas G. Pandiscio's proposal to spend $1 million on iPads for students was not embraced by selectmen from the five-town district during a meeting last night.

Objections to the plan, however, were less about the proposal itself than about its timing and the lack of an estimate of the initiative's annual budgetary impact.

In the 21st Century Skills initiative, Mr. Pandiscio proposes borrowing $1 million to create a wireless network in each school building, lease 1,500 iPads for five years, plus teacher training, and hardware and software.

Mr. Pandiscio said he is proposing the initiative now, because $1 million of authorized borrowing for oil remediation at the former Jefferson School is being returned to the towns.

"I don't think we have a right to that money," Mr. Pandiscio said. "But it seems like a perfect time to think about this issue."

Selectmen did not agree.

"Why now?" Holden Selectman Anthony Renzoni asked. "Why can't this wait until the annual town meeting? It seems very hasty and rushed."

Sterling Selectman Russell Philpot agreed. "The Sterling Board of Selectmen voted not to support this initiative at this time. We seem to be rushing," he said.


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