Back-to-school: Laptops are cheaper, better than textbooks, says school district

Aug 5, 2021, 9:52 AM
Photo: Adobe Stock

SALT LAKE CITY — Should Utah taxpayers have to pay for laptops for public school students again this year? A school district spokesman said it’s cheaper and better than buying schoolbooks.

Kids needed laptops last year at the drop of a hat because of the pandemic. A lot of parents found themselves without a laptop and in need to get one — pronto.

Back-to-school with D&D

Ben Horsley with the Granite School District joins Dave & Dujanovic to discuss the advantages of providing students with a free laptop.

He said laptops are a lot cheaper than textbooks, which is what they’re replacing.

“[With] a textbook back in the day, you couldn’t pull up a video that showed you how to solve the math problem,” Horsely said. “Let’s put it this way: What better peripheral skills are we teaching kids than how to use the tools that they’ll use in college and then their future career?”

Keeping the dark side out of reach

He said the state provides iBoss filtering preventing students from accessing inappropriate material on taxpayer-funded laptops.

“And then we have the ability to actually fine-tune that even further,” he said.

Chromebook laptops

“What kind of laptops do kids have and how much do they cost?” Dave asked.

Horsely said students are provided Chromebooks that are limited in memory and performance.

“They’re generally under $200, usually at the high end around $250,” he said.

No home computer? No problem

Most Granite Districts schools do not allow the kids to take laptops home. But students whose parents can’t afford laptops are allowed to take them home, Horsley said.

Horsley added that loss and damage to the laptops have been minimal, considering how many devices are shared.

“It’s less than 5 percent. Actually, kids do a pretty good job. Most of that was accidental,” he said.

New today:

Back to School: Spending expected to hit record highs

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

Today’s Top Stories


Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. Photo credit: Uta...
Devin Oldroyd

Hogle Zoo welcomes new Red Panda in effort to conserve the species

Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. It hopes to breed her with Mow Mow, a red panda currently living there.
3 days ago
USU Aviation The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) created a series of r...
Michele Rowe

Flight instructor, student, die in crash of USU Aviation plane

Officials said a teacher and student affiliated with USU aviation were killed in a plane crash near Wellsville.
9 days ago
USU Aviation The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) created a series of r...
Waverly Golden

Utah State University reports on Latina women’s status in Utah

The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project researched disparities between Latina Women and all women in Utah.
17 days ago
Utah Valley University March 23, 2020.  (Gabriel Mayberry/ UVU Marketing)...
Martha Harris

Utah adults struggling in their civics knowledge, a UVU study said

Utah adults get an almost failing grade in their civics knowledge, according to a study from Utah Valley University.
25 days ago
The Utah State Board of Education building. Utah schools give out a risk prevention survey every tw...
Aimee Cobabe

Utah State Board of Education drops support for risk prevention survey

Utah schools have given kids a health and risk prevention survey since 2003, but the State Board of Education recently pulled its support for the survey.
25 days ago
utah student achievement COVID-19...
Simone Seikaly

Utah student performance knocked down during COVID-19 restrictions

A review of multiple Utah student performance exams found "significant impacts" in mathematics achievement across grades.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Back-to-school: Laptops are cheaper, better than textbooks, says school district