Lawrence school board to consider purchase of $278K in technology accessories

photo by: John Young

Apple iPads sit on the library counter of Deerfield Elementary School's newly renovated media library center, Sept. 28, 2016.

Students in Lawrence middle and high schools can take their devices home for the summer, beginning this year.

On Monday, school board members will hear a report from the staff behind that effort and consider requests to replace about $278,500 in accessories.

The district rolled out 1:1 iPads in the middle schools in August 2016, and 1:1 MacBooks at the high schools in August 2017, according to agenda materials; now, Technology Services has a couple of years’ worth of data on losses and damages, how students use devices and “ways in which the district can support learning year-round.”

Jerri Kemble, assistant superintendent of leading, learning and technology, and Ellen Willets, director of learning and technology, will update the board on those efforts and provide a look at future projects during Monday’s meeting. They’ll also request approval to upgrade or replace many power cords and cases.

The Journal-World reported in August that the district cost to replace iPads and MacBooks and associated accessories that students lost in the 2017-2018 school year was estimated to be from $121,781 to $135,011. That included middle school students’ loss of about 1,200 power cords, at a replacement cost of $26,400, during the 2017-2018 school year. This year, district leaders hope they have a better plan to avoid similar losses.

“Last year’s excessive cord loss can possibly be attributed to cords remaining at home instead of returned the last day of school,” according to a memo in the agenda materials. So this year, if students don’t opt into keeping their devices for the summer, they’ll return their cords at the same time; if they still don’t have the cords when they return in August, they’ll be given a replacement and charged the appropriate fee.

Several cases and power adapters will need to be upgraded or replaced for the 2019-2020 school year. That list includes the following, for a grand total of $278,498:

• 525 iPad power adapters at an estimated $26,250; IT will keep 200 in inventory.

• 450 iPad cases with “unlimited accidental damage repair coverage,” for $31,050 — some cases haven’t provided enough protection, according to the agenda, and the cost of repairing iPads in the middle schools has been $40,000 over the past three years. The replacement cases cannot be personalized, but they’ll eliminate repair costs, the agenda says. These 450 will provide a “field test in anticipation of the FY2020 middle school iPad refresh.”

• 975 MacBook Air cases and 1,023 iPad carrying cases, for $71,760: “Each student is given the opportunity to personalize the case for their device,” the agenda says; however, for devices that belong to graduating seniors and eighth-graders that will be distributed to incoming freshmen and sixth-graders, “A new case will be put on each MacBook and iPad as the personalized cases cannot be reused.”

• 3,750 rugged iPad cases for the elementary level, for $149,438.

Each item is listed separately on the board’s agenda, meaning the board will vote on each purchase. If approved, the purchases would come from the general fund instructional technology funds, according to the agenda.

In other business,

• Although it was not yet listed on the agenda Friday afternoon, the board is expected to discuss the district schools’ votes on whether to apply for the Kansans Can School Redesign Project’s Apollo phase, which “invites districts to designate one or more elementary and/or secondary school to be designed around the five outcomes established by the Kansas State Board of Education, the five elements identified as defining a successful Kansas high school graduate, and what Kansans said they want their schools to look like in the future,” according to a news release from the Kansas State Department of Education.

“If 80% of a school’s staff vote in favor of redesign, the school will apply with KSDE for the Apollo Redesign,” district spokeswoman Julie Boyle said via email this week. “We should know about the results of the vote by Monday.”

• A work session will precede the regular meeting. Martha Greenway, of Greenway Strategy Group, will present findings, outcomes and themes from community and staff meetings about the district’s first strategic plan.

• Board members will hear a progress update from the District Scheduling Committee on middle school scheduling.

The board will meet for its work session and regular meeting at 5:15 and 6 p.m., respectively, on Monday at district offices, 110 McDonald Drive. Complete agenda materials are available via

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