The Union School District recently purchased a shipment of 775 Chromebooks in an effort that District Technology Coordinator Matt Jones said will save the district $71,000 annually.

At Union R-XI students from third to 12th grade receive Chromebooks, which are simplified laptops that run on a Google operating system, to aid in their education as part of the district’s One-to-World initiative, originally approved in 2015.

The initiative was originally approved as a three-year rollout that would see fourth through 12th grade students receiving Chromebooks they would use for an extended amount of time for schoolwork.

That has changed, with this new approval that roll\out will have be a year longer and also includes second-graders.

“We’ve restructured the rollout schedule a little bit,” Jones said. “Previously we were on a three-year rotation, but we’ve been working with Dr. (Steve) Weinhold to changing that to a four-year rotation.”

The 775 new Chromebooks will cost the district $213,078, but Jones said adding these new devices and stretching out the current lifespan of the district’s devices will save Union money every year.

“The Chromebooks have been relatively good to us,” Jones said. “So we’re hoping to stretch life for another year and that will save us roughly $71,000 annually.

Second-, seventh- and ninth-grade students will be receiving the newly purchased Chromebooks. Jones said the devices will be delivered no later than Aug. 1. He said he was confident they’d be ready for the new school year.

Jones said based on the current enrollment, the district purchased roughly 30 extra Chromebooks as possible replacements in case of incidents.

The technology department also received approval at a recent board meeting to purchase 800 Chromebook cases as well, but no purchases have been made as of yet.

A request for bids on the Chromebooks purchase was sent to nine businesses. CDW-G, Ill., was the low bidder for the Chromebooks.

When the Chromebook plan was first proposed and approved in 2015 cost roughly $352 per unit. Currently, each unit costs roughly $251 through CDW-G.