(TNS) — For the second year in a row, the Perrysburg School District will expand its laptop program in an effort to connect more students to technology.

At the start of the 2015-2016 school year in August, fifth-graders will receive Lenovo Chromebooks, and 11th graders will be issued MacBook Air laptops. Superintendent Tom Hosler, said at a school board meeting Monday, that expanding the program will give more students access to technology and assist teachers.

"When you need to access technology right away, you can't wait to schedule a computer lab and figure out when you can get in there," Mr. Hosler said. "In the past, all we had were computer labs and laptop carts. It created a barrier."

The program, launched in 2013, equips students with personal computers for use at school and home. Teachers incorporate the technology into lesson plans for both in-class and homework assignments. The program cost $550,000.

With the expansion, the program will issue about 1,600 Chromebooks to students in fifth through eighth grader this year. About 1,100 MacBook Airs will be distributed to students in ninth through 11th grades. An additional 800 Chromebooks will be repurposed for use in the elementary schools. Teachers with students in kindergarten through fourth grade will have access to about 10 computers each.

"If we're serious about preparing students to be 21st century learners, technology has to be a part of that," Mr. Hosler said. "It's a tool; something to enhance the educational experience."

Also at Monday's meeting, district treasurer Matt Feasel reported that the district ended the fiscal year on June 30 with a cash balance of about $5.2 million. The district took in $47.6 million in revenues and had expenditures of $46.1 million. Salaries account for almost 80 percent of the expenditures, at $36.5 million.

"With a larger than anticipated collection on our revenue side, we were able to increase our cash balance," Mr. Feasel said. "We're heading in the right direction." 

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