During the last school year, the administration and teacher committees of the East Syracuse-Minoa school system in New York agreed to purchase new computers at a 50-50 split between Macs and PCs. Many of the teachers had been using Macs and 75 percent of the software they were using was Mac only.
Due to some disagreements with the administration, the IT manager quit late in the school year and was replaced with a new IT manager, Greg Viola, who decided, on his own, that the only computers to be purchased were going to be PCs, according to Gene Wolf, host of a weekly radio program called “Ransom Access” out of Syracuse, NY. Wolf, the self-professed “Mac bigot” of the show’s three hosts, brought heat against the school district in his Mac related newspaper column for the “Syracuse Post Standard,” which he’s been writing for over two years and on his radio show.
Wolf wrote in his newspaper column that “in the next year the costs of new software and tech support at ESM may skyrocket because of this decision,” and referenced a
Gartner report that said, “although much attention has focused on Microsoft’s subscription-based pricing, the most significant effect on Microsoft’s customers is the elimination of version upgrades.” For most, this will significantly increase the cost of upgrading software licenses, according to the Gartner report.
Wolf said that when something like this happens two things usually result. First are cutbacks in the number of machines supported or old obsolete software is used because the school cannot afford the newest. This severely impacts the students, and this is supposed to be the concern of the school system, Wolf said.
“Two years from now, if the costs of a PC only system skyrocket, the school administrators cannot say they were unaware,” Wolf wrote. “But two years from now, it may be too late to correct the errors, without spending EVEN MORE money to ‘rebuy’ Macs for the school system. ESM needs to keep this a 50/50 conversation, so students have OPTIONS to use the best technology for learning. (And for teachers to be better facilitators in the learning process.)”
Wolf said that taxpayers in the ESM school district “should be asking pointed questions right now”: What group made these decisions, what are the financial implications both near term and three years down the road, where will the money come from if the Gartner group is correct and who will be held responsible?