2013-03-27 / Schools

Chromebooks, iPads will will be bought for pupils

BY JACK MURTHA
Staff Writer

MARLBORO — While the clich├ęs of metallic silver-coated furniture and allknowing robots are still in the distance, Marlboro K-8 School District classrooms are taking a leap into the future.

The Board of Education approved two contracts at its Feb. 19 meeting that will place Google Chromebooks and iPads into students’ hands.

The board’s move came after months of exploration into the purchase of high-tech devices to meet the demands of the Partnership for Assessment and Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam. Slated for implementation throughout New Jersey in the 2014-15 school year, the PARCC exam will be distributed to students entirely online.

Under the terms of one contract, the board will pay $1.03 million to CDW Government LLC for 3,240 Chromebooks.

The agreement includes a “white glove” service which ensures that the necessary software will be installed on the computers to allow for immediate use, Business Administrator Cindy Barr-Rague told the News Transcript.

“We will take them out of the box and they are ready to go,” Barr-Rague said.

The Marlboro Middle School and the Marlboro Memorial Middle School will each receive 870 Chromebooks, she said. Five elementary schools will each receive 300 Chromebooks.

“They are going to be such a useful tool for the kids,” Barr-Rague added. “It’s amazing what we are going to be able to do with these.”

Board member BonnieSue Rosenwald said during the meeting that she found Chromebooks for sale at a lower price on the Internet. She pinned the extra costs being charged to the school district on the public bidding process.

Marlboro’s deal covered various costs, like shipping and backup services, that the advertised price for a single Chromebook would not take into account, Barr-Rague said.

CDW Government LLC outbid two other companies to secure the contract.

A contract with Apple Inc. provides for the purchase of 60 iPads at a total cost of $41,643, according to the resolution.

The Marlboro Early Learning Center, which holds preschool and kindergarten classes, will receive the entire haul of iPads, Barr-Rague said.

She noted that the purchase of both devices constituted the first phase of the district’s plan to strengthen its stockpile of computers for the impending PARCC exam.

In January, the board green-lighted an amendment to its contract for Internet service to allow for 10 times the amount of bandwidth to be issued to Marlboro K-8 schools. That boosted the district’s bandwidth consumption from 50 to 500 megabytes per month.

For students and teachers to properly connect to the Internet on the iPads and Chromebooks, the larger flow of bandwidth is necessary, administrators said last year.

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