TCSS approves Chromebook purchase

Published 6:43 pm Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Troup County School Board voted to approve the purchase 6,000 laptops during Thursday night’s meeting, the largest step thus far in completing the One to One Initiative.

The laptops, which are a Dell 5190 Chromebooks, cost a total of $2,748,000. Education SPLOST funds will be used for the purchase from Virtucom, the lowest of three bidders.

The One to One Initiative was started in 2015 when the Georgia Digital Classroom Act was signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal and strongly encouraged school boards to purchase digital instructional materials and to provide students with a wireless device to read it on.

Most of the discussion on the Chromebooks was held Monday evening, during the work session. The only discussion Thursday night centered around how much of the $4 million in technology put aside in SPLOST funds would be used in the purchase of Chromebooks.

“That’s about $4 million to implement One to One, between this and the next purchase that is going to come,” said board chairman Kirk Hancock.

“If I remember correctly in the SPLOST, there was $4 million allocated to technology. This is $4 million. We are one year into this SPLOST, and we have already approved other things outside of this, and we have four more years to fund all of our technology. Do we have any concerns on how we address that budget for future technology?”

Assistant Superintendent John Radcliffe said they moved an estimated $12 million in SPLOST V expenses to SPLOST IV.

“We’ve got a pocket of money over here. As we look at our technology, the only major expense Mr. Moneypenny and I have talked about over the $4 million over the balance of this initiative is for a teacher-laptop renewal,” Radcliffe said.

Josh Moneypenny, the director of technology for the school system, said an estimated 3,000 additional Chromebooks would be needed to complete the initiative, which has a goal of ensuring every third grader and above has a Chromebook to use.

According to the agenda from the November 2017 board meeting, the estimated completion date for the rollout was June 2019 and the total cost was $3.5 million.

Moneypenny said Monday that when the initiative is finalized, it’s estimated that 47 computer labs in the district can be transitioned back into normal classrooms.