Money Watchers: School replaces text books with e-readers

What few text books are left inside Burrillville Middle School will soon be gone and replaced with e-readers.

"I'm so excited. It's a great idea, and the kids are going to be so much more now interested in school," said student Jill Cash.

A grant from the Champlin Foundation will supply about 600 students with Kindle e-readers next year, and all of their reading materials will be downloaded on them.

The move is intended to keep students kids connected, and it serves a fiscal purpose too.

Principal Dennis Kafalas said it will save the school and parents money in the long run.

"Lots of money in the long run. Money we don't have either to buy materials," Kafalas said.

Text books can cost between $85 and $95 each. The e-readers cost about $60 each.

Kafalas said he hasn't encountered any resistance.

"In fact, kids want to know when they are going to get them," Kafalas said.

The assistant principal has been setting them and preparing the school for next year. Another plus is being able to constantly update the material within the e-reader and using free resources online.

"You can email materials right to them or plug it into your computer and download it that way," a school official said.

This can soon mean no more lugging big, heavy book bags.

"When you have three or four (books) carried to each period of the day, they're not exactly light," a student said.

While students will have the ability to go online with these readers, access will be limited. Facebook and other apps will be blocked to avoid distractions during the school day.