The Board of Education approved a five year contract with Apple for $1,642,542 that will guarantee all computers and devices will be no older than five-years-old and will raise the number of units to 2,500 in a special meeting last week.
The contract the board approved last Thursday June 28, costs the district $328,510.40 per year but every year when any computer or device ages over five years, Apple will trade it for a new one.
"The good thing about this arrangement is it takes us from approximately 2,000 devices to approximately 2,500 devies," Superintendent James Crisfield said. It meets our plan to replace hardware every five years and is actually less money than it would cost us to purchase a fifth of our stock and replace it."
In the first year the district is receiving 950 MacBook Pros, 300 iMacs and 120 iPads. This will create a two to one ratio of students to computers throughout the district.
Currently the school has 1,900 computers and is getting rid of 900, which Apple buys back as part of the contract. Since Apple doesn't give bulk discounts, it offers the trade-in incentive as part of the contract.
Mark Zucker brought issues of PC vs Mac, which Vice President Eric S. Siegel explained since 90 percent of the software the schools run is Mac only it would just create costs with software.
The contract doesn't include training but Siegel explained each will be "ready to fly" with all programs and necessary start up procedures done.
"Some of the older machines, six-or seven-years-old, are still functional but it costs a lot of money to maintain them," Crisfield explained. "They create incompatible things because their operating systems are different than the new ones and its difficult in two different ways, if you have a new one and old one."
The issue that was brought by the public and Pasternak was the main objective of the amount spent on technology.
"This is putting the tools in the hands of our teachers," Crisfield explained."Once we standardize what apps we are going to use we will set up training. It's going to be a collaborative effort on teachers."
The other benefit explained was the consistency every year in the budget instead of varying for aging computers.
The board declined the Apple care because of the cost but each unit comes with the standard one year warranty. The technology staff will manage upkeep on the units, which is staff already does on current computers.
Next year the school is set to retire about 540 computers and will receive about 660, which will get the number of units to a steady 2,500.
By 2016 the average of the computers in the schools will be three-years-old the board said.