Backpack? Check.

Books? Check

Lunch money? Check.

Brand new MacBook Air? For seniors returning to class today at Eden Prairie High School, the answer is "yes."

By the end of the week, Eden Prairie Schools will have distributed almost 3,000 new laptops, one leased for every high school student. Seniors and some juniors received theirs today.

School technology experts say the West Metro school district is the largest in the state to issue MacBook Airs on an individual student basis. Many schools are utilizing iPads instead.

But district officials felt that the MacBooks were a better choice for their high school students.

"For this age group, we really thought the laptops were a better tool to create," said Bob Noyed, the district's spokesman, adding the MacBooks were great computers to build presentations and projects.

The MacBooks are an integral part of the district's new iLearn@EP technology initiative. That plan calls for the deployment of devices to more than 4,300 students in grades 7 through 12.

Last school year, Eden Prairie middle school students received iPads. By the 2015-2016 school year, the new technology will be in all grades.

The initiative is set to cost about $1.5 million a year.

District officials say over time, the money for the devices and related costs will come from reallocating portions of the textbook budget and technology levy.