By Catherine Van Weele
Novato High has decided to start replacing projectors with televisions that are already set up in the classrooms due to expensive costs of the projector light bulbs.
About a decade ago, teacher John Ballou got a grant to put TVs in all classrooms at Novato High. At this time, most classrooms did not have projectors yet.
Last year, English teacher Christina Corsetti’s projector light bulb went out and she requested a new one to former vice-principal Robert Celli. She had to wait for about six months to get a new bulb because the school was unable to get the funds for the bulb quickly enough. While she waited, Corsetti used her TV to project her class content.
“It was a struggle for a short period of time,” Corsetti said. “I am fortunate to have a big screen TV so it wasn’t as traumatic for me because kids could still see fairly well using the big screen. Had I had to use the other ones that all the classrooms have in the corner, it would have been more of a struggle.”
Currently, AP U.S. History teacher Timothy Mahoney is using his TV since his projector bulb burned out about three weeks ago.
“I honestly thought I would hate it,” said Mahoney. “I have to be very conscience of what words I put on my slides because otherwise by slides would be 40 slides long instead of 15 or 18. I didn't think it’d work but now I'm getting used to.”
Students tend to prefer the projectors rather than the TVs, especially when taking notes. Last year, Corsetti’s English 10 honors class created the hashtag #lightbulbforchromesetti as an inside joke.
“The TVs are harder to see when I sit in the back of the classroom and you can’t enlarge the picture with the TV,” junior Alexa Bleth said.
Danny Kambur and Evan Underwood-Jett, both Social Studies teachers, are also experiencing projector problems.
In Kambur’s classroom, students sitting farther back in the room are often unable to read blurry print projected onto the screen despite the projection being clear for students in the front of the room.
The projector in Underwood-Jett’s classroom is inconsistent so he tends to use the TV.
“I’m like a projector whisperer,” Underwood-Jett said. “You have to reach down at the projector and hit it a couple times and sometimes it turns on.”
In the future, once a projector bulb goes out, it will not be replaced by the school.
This decision to switch to TVs was made two years ago when former IT Director, David Feliciano, suggested using TVs rather than projectors. Novato High principal Matt Baldwin is now following through with that decision. Hassan Fathi, technical support coordinator, explained the benefits of switching to the TVs.
“[Bulbs] cost about $350, so they are not really cost effective,” Fathi said. “So our school decided to start to buy TVs which cost as much as a projector but they last forever basically. Using TV will be much more cost efficient since they last much longer than a projector bulb."
This is very expensive especially if the school continually has to replace the bulbs once they run out. The bulbs are too costly for teachers to pay out of their own pocket for them.
“I would if I could get promptly reimbursed,” Mahoney said. “It's a good percentage of my take home pay.”
In order to continue using projectors in the classrooms, there needs to be major funding for the light bulbs.
“If the bond passes, I know there’s money for tech upgrades,” Baldwin said.
However other methods of fundraising for projector bulbs are still unclear.