Arizona schools without modern computers for their students will get them under new standards that will guide numerous repairs and improvements to be paid for by the state.
Approved Sept. 2 by the School Facilities Board, the standards are a key step in implementing Students First, a statewide school building program enacted last year to resolve a years-long legal and political battle over disparities between rich and poor school districts.
Under the new computer standard, each classroom will have internet access and each school will have enough networked, multimedia computers so there is at least one for every eight students.
A document accompanying the standards defines a multimedia computer as one with sound, CD-ROM, a keyboard, a monitor, and a pointing device.
Jose Leyba, superintendent of Isaac Elementary School District in Phoenix, said the new computer standard would double the number of computers in his 8,000-student, inner-city district. As it is now, he said, student learning suffers.
Those improvements won’t come cheap for the state, though. Legislative budget analysts estimated the standards could add up to at least 50,000 new computers.