Unit 5 school board members approve purchase of 3,500 Chromebooks, fully covered by grants

NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — At the McLean County Unit 5 School Board meeting Wednesday night, the board approved the purchase of 3,500 Dell Chromebooks for students to use.

District Chief Financial Officer Martin Hickman said the $1.1 million purchase was funded entirely by the Emergency Connectivity Fund grant, which Congress authorized under the American Rescue Plan. Act.

The district applied for the grant and was accepted.

Hickman said during the COVID-19 shutdowns, district leaders quickly learned that connectivity is important for students, and says these Chromebooks will continue to be important for district students in the future.

“That’s hugely important, not only with what we’ve had the last two years with the pandemic, but you know, now we’re also capable, K-12, you know snow days, just in case where we would have bad weather, they can still be connected on those days as well, so it will be something that will be used way beyond when this pandemic is finally over,” Hickman said.

He added that this purchase will refresh the devices they have at the secondary level and ensure they continue to have good working technology for students.

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