$6.7B for school tech – Spending grows 25 percent

U.S. school districts spent $6.7 billion for technology in the 1998-99 school year, up nearly 25 percent from the previous year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

School districts spent 42 percent of their technology funds on new computer hardware, an average of $60.56 a student, according to a report by Quality Education Data Inc. in Denver.

More than 20 percent of total technology spending by schools paid for installing networks to connect school computers to the Internet.

Funding for computer training for teachers totaled just 5.2 percent of the total.

School computers often are underused because many teachers, particularly older ones, are not comfortable with the technology, the Journal reports.

Education spending on technology is expected to fall to $6.3 billion this year as schools develop beyond federal-funding requirements, the study says.

Spending on hardware also will decline as schools invest in better networks, updated software and staff training.

Most of the tech funding came from local and state governments, although federal spending had increased in the past nine years.

Thirty-four percent of new computers purchased by schools were Appleā€™s Macintosh computers. Compaq and Dell each accounted for 19 percent of new computers, followed by IBM and Gateway, each at 13 percent.

Elementary schools prefer Macs while middle and high schools prefer Window-based machines, QED says.

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