Huntsville City Schools go paperless with digital textbooks - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Huntsville City Schools go paperless with digital textbooks

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The Huntsville City Schools system is on its way to becoming digital by transitioning from paper textbooks to electronic versions. The Huntsville City Schools system is on its way to becoming digital by transitioning from paper textbooks to electronic versions.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The Huntsville City Schools system is on its way to becoming digital by transitioning from paper textbooks to electronic versions. 

Education services company Pearson Education will present a plan for the digital transition before board members at the next board meeting on Thursday.

Every student from 4th to 12th grade will receive a laptop by the upcoming school year to facilitate the transition, according to school officials.

Board President Laurie McCaulley said the plan closes a "digital divide" by making school curriculums more uniform across the system.

For students, the move also eliminates the burden of carrying heavy loads of books to and from school. It also cuts the cost of replacing lost or damaged paper textbooks.

School officials said transitioning to digital books will cost roughly $3.2 million the first year.

In comparison, Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski said it costs $5 million for paper books each year.

McCaulley said federal e-rate reimbursements will help pay for the digital transition.

She said the plan is also more cost-effective in obtaining the most up-to-date books.

"Every time there's an update, you have to purchase a new set. This way you have a license so these textbooks will have the most current information. You don't have to keep purchasing those books," McCaulley said.

The school district will lease 11,000 new laptops for students in the 5th to 12th grade, while 4th graders will inherit the netbooks that fifth graders received last fall.

Classrooms are currently being equipped with Wi-Fi capability to accommodate the new technology.

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