Earlier this month MacCentral brought readers news originally reported by the King County Journal that a school in Tukwila, Wash. was considering turning down a US$43,000 grant awarded one of its teachers to buy free Macs, since the Mac grant conflicted with the school’s Windows-only IT policy.
In a followup article posted today, reporter Nora Doyle noted that the superintendent has come up with a compromise, although it’s one unlikely to please Mac advocates. The final decision about the Macs hasn’t been made yet, either.
The brouhaha erupted earlier this year when a teacher at Foster High School in Tukwila, Wash. applied for and received an educational grant that awarded his school US$43,000 in free Macintosh computer hardware and compatible laser printers. Alas, the teacher had no idea at the time that the school already had in place an IT policy that required new purchases to be Windows PCs.
Parents interviewed for the original report called the Tukwila school’s policy “asinine” and questioned the logic in turning away $43,000 of free computer hardware regardless of platform, especially given the budgetary constraints of many schools including Tukwila’s. The school superintendent contended that a homogeneous platform reduces IT costs. Details about the grant were to be put forth before a school board meeting.
Superintendent Michael Silver told teachers that they’d be able to have 30 Windows PCs donated by The Boeing Co., which donates surplus computers to nearby school districts. The school district also agreed to put up $3,000 to buy new laser printers.
“It took about a minute for three Foster High School teachers to decide they’d accept the superintendent’s offer,” wrote Doyle.
Teacher Jeff Heinman, who applied for and received the Mac grant, told Doyle that he’d rather have new Macs than used PCs, but “I’d rather have 30 PCs than nothing.”
He said he hopes the school district will accept the Mac-specific grant regardless and find a good place for the Macs. Doyle noted that a loophole in the school district’s IT plan permits Macs to be kept at teacher’s desks, libraries and a graphics classroom.
The school board hasn’t yet made a final decision about the fate of the Mac-specific $43,000 grant. Doyle reports that the costs associated with supporting such a decision will be examined during a school board meeting scheduled for July 8th.
Tukwila is a Puget Sound community located about a half hour’s drive southwest of Redmond, Wash., home of Microsoft Corp.’s corporate headquarters.