Last week we reached out to you as part of our continued commitment to communicating the latest updates of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative next generation deployment. We’d hoped that Priority Notice would provide the clarity you needed to inform your district decision-making during this busy budgeting time. Unfortunately, our message, combined with inaccurate information on the MLTI website FAQs, created confusion. I apologize for that, and hope I can correct any misinformation here, particularly about the State’s support for high school 1:1 programs.
When we announced this new preferred solution and choice option, we said the State would cover the cost of any approved solution up to the per-seat amount for the HP ProBook 4440 solution.
For a middle school, MLTI will calculate the total cost of the selected device seats and network seats to determine a school’s total cost. We will compare that to the total cost of implementing the HP solution, using the per-seat cost of the HP ProBook 4440 solution ($254.86) and the per-seat cost of its supporting network ($30.91). If the cost of the school’s selected solution exceeds the total HP solution cost ($285.77), the school pays the difference.
As you know, at the high school level the State has historically paid for the teacher devices and the network, and schools have covered the entire cost of the student devices. This has complicated the way that we calculate the State’s contribution to the costs of a high school solution, since we don’t support student devices at the high school level.
For the HP laptop solution, the calculation is easy, as the State will support the cost of the teacher devices and the network for those schools that participate 1:1 in MLTI for at least two grades, and the schools, as in the past, will pick up the cost for the student devices.
For the alternative options for 1:1 schools, the calculation is a bit more complicated. Because the State has committed to covering the alternative solutions up to the amount we would have invested in the HP laptop solution, that means for a high school deployment we will cover up to the amount we would have spent on the teacher devices and network for the HP laptop solution. What complicates matters for schools choosing to go with the iPad solution is that while the iPad does have a lower per-seat cost ($217 per seat) than the preferred HP laptop solution, its network ($49 per seat) is more expensive on a per-seat basis than the HP laptop solution. This means that while high schools will almost certainly end up paying less overall for an iPad solution, they will have network costs associated with that solution that exceed what the State will cover. The other available solutions have varying costs as well, beyond the cost of the student devices.
To help you see the potential financial impact of each solution on your high school, we’ve created a spreadsheet estimator, available on the MLTI deployment website. Simply enter in the number of your students and the number of eligible staff who will be receiving devices and it will estimate your local cost for each of the solutions.
Just as this is a new generation of MLTI solutions for your schools, it’s also a brand new landscape for us here at the Department. We’ve never provided this range of options before, and while it is proving to be a challenge to implement, we believe it is important that schools have options from which to choose. We remain committed to the MLTI program and to providing you with the support you need to select and ultimately deploy the best solution for your students and their learning.
Stephen L. Bowen, Commissioner of Education
Jeff Mao, Maine Learning Technology Initiative