Letters to the Editor

Too many questions unanswered on iPads

I read with interest a recent story concerning a requested tax increase to pay for iPads in Beaufort County schools.

In my humble opinion, asking for a tax increase from non-resident owners (about $30 for a $250,000 home) is unwise, given our current economic conditions.

In addition, asking for a tax increase while allowing the International Baccalaureate Program to continue after a $13,000 dollar audit recommended it be discontinued, doesn't seem like sound money management to me.

So I have a few questions about this new iPad program. Why did the Board of Education decide to ask for a property tax increase for iPads and implement a new college and career-readiness program so close to seeking County Council tax rate approval? Has a return-on-investment study been done on iPads in the classroom? Will they improve educational outcomes? Will the cost of these iPads be counterbalanced by the purchase of digital books in all subject areas? What subjects will be taught using these iPads? Will there be a need for additional curriculum mapping if only the eighth and ninth grades receive iPads? And finally, when the iPads become obsolete, who will be asked to pay for new ones?

This is a tourist-driven economy, and non-resident owners spend lots of money in this area. Do we really want to drive them out or reduce their contributions to our economy with another tax increase?

Bert Walker