Scaled-back version of laptop initiative to move forward Fifteen schools have been selected to participate in South Dakotaâ�?�?s Classroom Connections for 2008-09, under a scaled-back version of the one-to-one laptop initiative. (See list below.) That means about 1,500 high school students will receive laptops to enhance their learning during the upcoming school year. â�?�?Our goal was to reach 5,000 students in the 2008-09 school year, but instead we'll be reaching only about a third of those students,â�? said Education Secretary Rick Melmer. â�?�?We are disappointed that we canâ�?�?t do more, but we are committed to keeping the initiative moving ahead.â�? Classroom Connections provides incentive money to districts to purchase laptops for their high school students. The state provides matching funds â�?�? $1 for every $2 invested by the local school district â�?�? to purchase laptops for every student in grades 9-12. Districts pay $1,250 per computer. That cost not only covers the initial investment of hardware, software and warranties, it also covers the training of teachers and technology coordinators in the schools. â�?�?On the national front, the question surrounding learning with laptops is not if it will happen, itâ�?�?s when it will happen,â�? said Gov. Mike Rounds. â�?�?Here in South Dakota, the K-12 laptop initiative will help to prepare students for a world in which access to information and technology is absolutely critical to economic health.â�? The scaled-back program for 2008-09 is expected to cost the state $770,000. Funding for the full program, estimated at $2.9 million, was cut during the 2008 legislative session. Expenses for adding the 15 new schools will be paid using Citibank funds. South Dakotaâ�?�?s Classroom Connections Pilot Schools 3rd Year: 2008-09 Andes Central (96 students); Armour (61 students); Baltic (135 students) Bridgewater/Emery (109 students); Britton/Hecla (185 students); Canistota (84 students); Custer (290 students); Deubrook (78 students); Faulkton (90 students); Hoven (49 students); Lake Preston (67 students); Langford (65 students); Waubay (50 students); White Lake (54 students); Wilmot (83 students). South Dakotaâ�?�?s Classroom Connections is part of the governorâ�?�?s 2010 Education Initiative, which calls for South Dakota becoming first in the nation for the percent of students going on to college or technical school.