HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (Times Free Press) -- Hamilton County Board of Education members hope to streamline the process of upgrading the district's lagging technological infrastructure to maximize purchasing power and ensure security and equality across all 80 schools.

The board's newly appointed technology committee met Friday afternoon, kickstarting a likely years-long process of putting iPads into the hands of all 42,000 students. Early estimates put the cost of the iPads close to $18 million, with another $1 million needed to improve the district's bandwidth infrastructure. The move is meant to improve instruction and prepare students better for the modern world.

But the move to iPads also is designed to help meet a 2014 deadline, when all state exams will move from paper to an online format. The district currently doesn't have enough desktops, laptops and tablets to handle such a change easily.

Administrators are banking on groups like PTAs and foundations to help pay for the new iPad purchases. But schools and principals must be given some guidance on how to go about acquiring the devices, officials said. And whatever is purchased needs to meet central office's IT standards to ensure network and device security.

Read more on the story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.