Dallastown schools will dip into their fund balance to purchase new laptops, expected to cost nearly $450,000, to replace aging ones used by district staff.

Ronald Blevins, vice president of the board, said there's a "pretty pressing need" to replace the slow, aging laptops currently used by teachers and staff.

There will be "certain productivity gains by making this purchase," he said.

The district could have leased the 550 new machines but, with financing, that would have cost the district nearly $530,000 over four years.

Using fund balance money to make the purchase will take some pressure off future budgets, Blevins said.

The expenditure will have little effect on the fund, which stands at about $13 million, said Ronald Dyer, the superintendent.

The board voted unanimously to buy the computers, priced at $818 each. Board member John Hartman was not present at the meeting.

Getting old: As part of a replacement cycle set in place because of budgetary constraints, the district was originally to hold off buying new laptops until July 2015.

But the current ones are starting to show their age, said Kenneth "Butch" Potter Jr., board president, who said laptops wear out quicker than desktop computers.

"These existing machines are fairly old," he said. "Four to five years old."

The new ones have more memory than the old ones, which means work can be done quicker.

Teachers will be able to use them to do grading, lesson plans and presentations in and outside of the classroom.

During a meeting last week, Blevins said if the machines are purchased now, they can be set up, registered and distributed to teachers before the end of the school year.

Board member William Lytle said he at first wrestled with the idea of making the purchase but came to the conclusion that it is a "wise investment."

"It's a very big priority," he said.

Staff writer Nikelle Snader contributed to this report.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.