Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Staff BYOD Technology Program

The Cozad Community Schools Board has approved the implementation of a VOLUNTARY program in which certified staff may use their own computer and/or mobile device for work and receive reimbursement over three years to cover the cost.

If you are interested in participating in this program, please review the information below, and print and sign the appropriate agreement (links below).  Please return the agreement to the technology department, your building principal, or to the district office.  You may submit the signed agreement via email if you prefer.

Next steps:

  1. After you print and sign the agreement to participate, pick out the computer or iPad you plan to purchase and send the quote or information to me for approval.  A web link, saved cart, or advertisement is sufficient.  You may even just email me what you are thinking and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.  I don't need an official document or anything, we just want to make sure you are getting a capable device.  Any new Mac or iPad will be approved.  There is much more variability in PCs, so please check with me first if you plan to purchase a Windows PC.
  2. Once we approve your device, you may make the purchase.  Be sure to save your receipt!
  3. Submit your signed agreement with the receipt to the district office and they will set up payroll reimbursement, which will begin with your September paycheck and continue for 36 months, unless you leave the district before that time.
Keep in mind that the reimbursement will be for the device only, and will not cover extended warranties or protection plans, cases, keyboards, etc.  The maximum reimbursement is capped at $1500 for computers, and at $400 for iPads.  You may spend more than that on the device, but you will only be reimbursed up to that amount.

The basics of the program:

As a certified staff member, you select a NEW device that will be used for both personal and work purposes for the next 3 years.  The minimum specifications:

  • Computers:  Mac or PC core i5 or above processor, 4 GB of RAM, and dual WiFi radio ("ac" WiFi is recommended).  With the exception of the WiFi radio, almost any new computer retailing for $800 or above will meet these specifications.  
  • iPad:  iPad Air (about $330 on Amazon), iPad mini 2 ($279) or better.
    • Apple has discontinued the iPad Air, but it can still be purchased through Amazon, WalMart, etc.
    • We have no minimum requirements for iPads for teachers, but we do recommend the iPad Air 2 with 64 GB ($479) if you are purchasing new, as student devices will be transitioning to this in the future, and some Apple Education features will require this as a minimum.
    • The iPad Pro is the next level up (starting at $579)
Please send me your selection, quote, or cart for final approval.

Once the purchase is approved by the tech department, you would make your purchase and submit a copy of the receipt for this computer to either the tech department, your building principal, or the district office.  The payroll office will then set up a 36 month reimbursement plan to be included in equal installments in your monthly payroll.

The maximum reimbursement limit will be $1500 for computers and $400 for iPads.  You may elect to spend more, but you will only be reimbursed up to that amount.  If you spend less, you will be reimbursed for the entire purchase price.

You will be the owner of the device and will be financially responsible for loss, damage and repairs.  You may want to consider extended warranty plans to cover all three years, but that is optional.

The district will provide necessary software and technical support related to school issues.

We will maintain spare devices as loaners in case yours is being repaired or replaced.

The program will be voluntary.  If you would prefer to have the school issue you a device, we would do that just as we have in the past.

If you leave the district before the end of your 3 year cycle, you will of course keep the device, but the district will not provide the remaining reimbursement.

Once you enter the program, you are not eligible to renew that device for a period of three years.  You also agree to use the BYOD device as your school device, and we will no longer issue you a school-owned comparable device.

You will be bound by FERPA, the Responsible Use Agreement and public equipment use laws while using the school network or resources.  You would not be bound by this agreement for private use.  For example, the law prohibits using school resources for your own, for-profit business ventures.  You currently are not allowed to conduct such business on your school-issued computer, no matter if you are at work or at home.  If you participate in this program, you could conduct personal business on your computer, as long as you did not use the school network or contracted time to do so.

The school will continue to provide accessories necessary for work.  For example, if you need an adapter to connect to the projector in your room, the district will provide that, but it would be the property of the district.

The district will not reimburse you for home accessories or those not required for work.  Examples are printers, larger monitors, external keyboard and mouse, etc.  The district will also not provide home networking equipment or support.

Reimbursement is a taxable benefit, and you should maintain records so that you can apply for deductions based on work-use of your computer when you complete your tax return.

To participate, please print and sign this agreement, and indicate if it is for a computer or an iPad (you are allowed to do both).  You must complete a separate agreement for each device.  If you're already participating, you are NOT required to complete another agreement.  Return your signed and dated agreement to the tech department or the district office, along with your receipt.

 Please feel free to send questions or comments via email, or by using the comment feature below.




  1. Please post comments or thoughts relating to this proposal!

  2. Personally, I think this is a powerful program proposition. Last year, I was lucky enough to choose my own device and had to assume operation and maintenance of the machine. It forced me to own my knowledge and productivity. I am limited only by my own ambition to solve my own problems. I am no longer limited by the availability of 'those with the power or knowledge' to fix my problems.

    At this time, I would probably not participate because I just got a new computer last year. However, like I said this is a powerful proposition to foster an ownership and new competence in performing your duties with the use of technology.

    1. One benefit I've seen of providing staff choice in their computer is that the teachers who have done this are supporting each other more, and not just relying on, as you put it, 'those with the power of knowledge'. In fact, the success of that trial has spurred my thinking in this proposal.

    2. I am in the same position as Dustin. I would definitely be interested in this program but just received a new school laptop I got to choose. It did force me to do some research and pick the features I really wanted. I consider it my machine and treat it as such.

  3. I think this sounds like a great program and I would definitely be interested

  4. I would definitely be interested in this. Thanks Dave!

  5. I am interested, but I'm concerned about the 4-year term.

    1. Please feel free to share your concerns! Do you think three years would be more appropriate? I wondered what the best term would be myself.

  6. I think three years would be better. I believe the lease-to-own arrangement we had in the past was a three-year term. In 15 years, I've never had a school computer last more than three years without its limitations becoming a problem. After two years, this MacBook Air I currently use has proven to be a poor choice to meet my computing needs. Thankfully, I’ll be able to use a different machine next year. Four years would be a long time to live with a bad device choice.

    1. Good points. These days it's hard to even know what we'll be doing with technology in three years.

  7. Sounds like a well thought out plan. I'm assuming Macs are an option with no problem sharing/interacting through Google? I am wondering about having my personal accounts on the school network. We have never been allowed to connect personal devices before.

    1. Good questions. We would need to revise our RUA, but the security purpose of keeping personal devices off of the private networks is pretty obsolete. Also obsolete are the days of needing everything the same for management purposes. Today it's more about individualized services and learning, and I've certainly learned that teachers (and students) do much better with tech they feel ownership in, rather than the "device" assigned.

      You are correct that with cloud services, it really doesn't matter what platform you choose.

  8. Sounds like a good option; I would be interested.

  9. Three years seems better. After that long in a classroom and traveling from school to home hand back again daily, a laptop can begin to have reliability issues. In regard to managing our own technology; A good carpenter takes charge of their tools, why shouldn't we? Would you have teachers provide their own iPads as well, or just their "real computers"? Overall, I see this as a positive step.

    1. I've thought about the other tech as well. I would think we should do the same thing for a tablet (iPad or other). Mobile devices especially are not well suited to keep personal and professional separate, it would make more sense to have your own, but get compensated for professional use.

  10. I think this sounds like a great idea! As I recently got a new laptop at school and am just now getting the hang of it, I might not be interested for another year or two, but definitely would be in the future! There have been some excellent points about ownership made, which I agree with completely. I also agree that a three year term might be better than a four year term.

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