The Union Leader of Manchester, N.H., reports that the purchase of $1,000 MacBook laptops for first- and second-graders doesn’t add up for David Pearl, a member of the Hooksett, N.H., schools’ budget committee and a technology volunteer at Underhill Elementary School. "The issue that I have right now is they purchased 10 MacBooks to be used by first- and second-graders," Pearl said, noting that PC laptops can be had for as little as $400. "I feel like [the computers] are being bought without any plan." The board told Pearl it would look into his concern. Bailey Rigg, technology director for the school district, insists a plan is in place. The purchase of the 10 laptops in August for Underhill Elementary was just a small part of the grand scheme, he said. The MacBooks were included in a $60,000-dollar Macintosh order that included 40 iMacs, the desktop equivalent of the MacBook, and 20 additional laptops spread throughout Hooksett’s two other schools. The recent purchase brings the district’s computer count to about 500 computers, or one computer for every five students. Rigg said 95 percent of those computers run on the Macintosh platform. "Those 10 MacBooks that we put in Underhill this year are the best machines they have in that school," Rigg said, adding Macintosh computers are pre-installed with necessary software, generally last longer than PCs, and are more user-friendly. Pearl says he has no problem with administrators integrating technology into the elementary-school curriculum or spending money on new computers. But, he said, there is no good reason the district needs to purchase such sophisticated Macintosh hardware when PC laptop equivalents are available for less than half the amount…

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