In an effort to get a jump on computers needed for the 2021-22 school year, the Sun Prairie School Board approved an administrative recommendation to lease 1,800 Chromebooks, licenses and extended warranties for $508,500.

Curt Mould, Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD) Director of Digital Media, Innovation and Strategy, explained the request is occurring now because the global supply chain slow-down for computers still remains.

“This past year we were unable to secure the preferred devices until September, despite submitting an order in May,” Mould wrote in his recommendation to the board. “The district has continued to experience significant lag time in receiving orders, and have been advised by manufacturers to submit orders as early as possible.”

Board approval of equipment purchase will allow the district to formally commit to a purchase agreement with the preferred vendor.

“I am confident that board approval now will secure our place in line to receive the preferred equipment this summer before school starts,” Mould wrote. “This aggressive timeline means that our preferred lease vendor cannot secure lease payment details until a date closer to delivery. The lease payment details will be brought forward for board consideration this spring.”

The district supports a one-to-one device initiative for students in grades 4K-12. Currently, all school-issued devices are assigned and “home” with the students.

Mould wrote the Chromebook bid seeks to provide new devices for students in grades 6, 9 and 12; staff members with end-of-life/lease devices; and to replace end-of-life/lease Chromebooks assigned to carts across the district.

In total, the number of Chromebooks needed is 1,800. Each Chromebook requires a Chrome OS management license that allows the district to manage and supervise the Chromebook device.

In order to save ongoing lease interest payment costs, Mould added, only the cost of the device will be included in the lease.

The total cost of the recommended Chromebooks and Chrome OS management license is $436,500. The cost of the warranty is $72,000.

Board members pointed out that it was not Mould’s fault that the Chromebooks didn’t arrive on time this year, but they added it would be good to place the order now to ensure the computers arrive in time for fall 2021 use.

Board to meet in person February 8

Sun Prairie School Board President Steve Schroeder reminded the board Monday that the board will convene in person Feb. 8 for the first time since the spring of 2020.

But, some board members may still attend the meetings virtually, Schroeder said. The board is likely to meet only in Room 100 at the Sun Prairie Area School District Offices at 501 S. Bird St. The Sun Prairie Municipal Building at 300 E. Main St., where the board has held some of its meetings in the past, remains closed to the general public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The council chambers where the board has held some past meetings contains plexiglass shields and dividers and is currently used only every other week to host Sun Prairie Municipal Court sessions. Board meetings will remain closed to the general public but may still be viewed on KSUN (channel 983 on Spectrum cable and channels 13 or 1013 on TDS Cable) or online at ksun.tv.

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