The Kansas City Star published an article titled Handhelds Benefits Come with Cost in its Saturday, September 24, 2005 edition. The article tells about the many benefits and monetary costs of handheld computing in Olathe Unified School District in Kansas. Olathe is the third largest district in Kansas and has issued a handheld and keyboard to each of their staff and students in two of their four high schools. The other two high schools and some of their middle and elementary schools have class sets of handhelds for a total of nearly 4,200 handheld computers!
One interesting fact from the article is that the director of technology said that Olathe schools replaced about 60 lost or damaged handhelds from last year, totaling about $18,000. But with 4,200 handhelds, that's lower than two percent, which is quite low.
The most touted benefit is increased student motivation. Read Handhelds Benefits Come With Costs (free but annoying registration required) from The Kansas City Star to read more about Olathe's benefits and costs of handheld computing.