Eudora School Board approves bids for 500 laptops
All Eudora High School students will have access to laptops next school year, the school board decided at its meeting Thursday.
Following recommendations from district technology director Ron Long, the board voted to accept a bid from Insight Public Sector for 500 laptops, Google Management Console licenses, and four mobile charging carts for a total of $115,177. Additionally, the board accepted a bid of $10,900 from Sterling for 500 Brenthaven protective sleeves for the laptops, for a grand total of $126,077.
This total is significantly lower than Long’s previous estimate of approximately $140,000, which included 466 laptops with protective sleeves and three mobile carts. School board President Eric Votaw said that made it easier for the board to decide to move forward.
The schools currently function on a cart-based model, meaning all laptops are stored on mobile carts that are shared between classrooms. With the approval of these bids, the district will purchase 500 new Dell Chromebook laptops, bringing the high school to a 1-to-1 student-to-device ratio. Each student will have his or her own laptop to bring to school every day and use for homework in the evenings.
The second part of the plan will redistribute the existing mobile cart fleet from the high school to the middle and elementary schools using a process the district has called “waterfalling.” Some iPads will also be distributed to the pre-K, kindergarten and first grades.
“It was a good night because we really spent quite a bit of time talking through everything one more time, making sure that there’s a purpose for doing this, that we have staff who want this in place, that we can afford it, that we can sustain it,” Votaw said. “So I’m excited that we were able to reach this point.”
Votaw told the Journal-World in March that the influx of cash from the district’s 2014 sale of the Nottingham property at 14th and Church streets to the city of Eudora, at an approximate total of $850,000, means the district can feasibly fund this plan right now.
There are some small details that still need to be ironed out, Votaw said, such as what happens if a laptop breaks or if a student forgets theirs at home for the day. The board has also charged school administrators with providing evidence that this plan is working, whether that be through increased engagement or improved assessment scores, and so on.
“We need to be able to see on an ongoing basis that this is in some way providing a benefit to our district and proving that it should be something we continue to invest in and fund as we go forward,” Votaw said.
Long will proceed with ordering the devices, setting them up and having them ready in time for the first full day of the 2016-2017 school year, Aug. 17.
The Eudora School Board generally meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at 1310 Winchester Road, Room 108. Board agendas are available online at www.eudoraschools.org.