Marietta mulls buying district new computers
by Lindsay Field
February 11, 2013 12:21 AM | 2405 views | 4 4 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Randy Weiner
Randy Weiner
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In the Marietta City Schools’ continued efforts to make sure technology is accessible to every child in the 8,000-plus student district, the board will consider approving the purchase of more than 1,500 computers Tuesday night.

The board will look at two separate contracts with Dell and a third with System Liquidations Inc. of New Jersey to purchase 1,536 desktop and laptop computers worth more than $718,000.

“It’s a way to set a standard so that all students have access to one-to-one technology,” said Marietta Board Chair Randy Weiner.

The additional access was also a recommendation in the board’s most recent review from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the middle school year’s International Baccalaureate report and will be required the 2014-2015 school year because all statewide testing will be given online.

“Kids need to be very familiar with technology and all different types of technology,” Weiner said about students in kindergarten through 12th grade. “They need to develop their keyboarding skills, and it’s becoming more and more a common tool to learn by.”

The first contract with Dell is to buy 410 laptops for $765 each with a three-year warranty to replace Marietta Middle School’s oldest laptop computers, which are five-plus years old, for $313,650.

David Digiovanni, the district’s director of technology and information systems, said he worked closely with Dell to come up with a “very viable product that is durable and meets our needs.”

The computers, paid for with SPLOST funds, will be used by 240 students in the magnet program, while 150 will be for school-wide use and 20 for the teacher and staff learning lab.

The second contract, valued at $20,568.23, is also with Dell to buy 26 laptops for $765 each and a laptop cart, which is a cabinet with wheels where laptops can be stores securely, for $696.23.

These computers, purchased with federal dollars, will be used in the media center at Burruss Elementary School off Manning Road.

The final contract is with System Liquidation to purchase 1,100 refurbished Dell desktop computers, for $349 each with a five-year warranty, for a total of $383,900.

The computers will be paid for with SPLOST funds and are being purchased for all 11 Marietta City schools: Sawyer Road Elementary, 270; Marietta Middle, 200; Park Street Elementary, 135; Lockheed Elementary, 125; Marietta High, 120; Hickory Hills Elementary, 90; district office, 50; Dunleith Elementary, 40; Marietta Sixth Grade Academy, 30; Burruss Elementary and West Side Elementary, 20 each.

Digiovanni said these will be used in computer labs, classrooms, administrative offices and the media centers.

In other business in the Tuesday meeting, the board will consider approving a $1.7 million initiative for students in kindergarten through 12th grade to meet technology goals set by the district’s Technology Innovation Committee formed in 2012 to help create more opportunities for one-to-one computer access for “basic skill development.”

It will be funded by SPLOST III.

Associate Superintendent Dayton Hibbs said this is the result of several months of planning among various stakeholders in the Marietta City Schools community, including parents and students.

“They established a goal of student access and mobile computing,” he said.

Hibbs also said the computer purchases are part of this plan and that it’s important to replenish machines so that students are working with up-to-date equipment.

The meeting will be at the Marietta City Schools Board Office, 250 Howard St. in Marietta, and is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. with public comments.
Comments
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Children First
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February 11, 2013
I do not see any problems with investing money on computers for the schools. The challenge of education continues to be to engage all learners in a meaningful curriculum and encourage every student to reach his/her own ultimate potential. I believe computer literacy is as important for our children to acquire as any other "basic skill".

On the other hand, I do have concerns with the superintendent justifying the high wages of her cabinet under the guise of improving the test scores in our school system. Additionally, the MCS hires Central Office employees out of retirement and practice in double-dipping. It's not about whether these employees do their job or contributes value to our school system; it’s about qualified individuals in our community not given the opportunity to compete for these jobs in this struggling economy.

Not Cobb Schools
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February 11, 2013
Sorry Betsy, but in any business these would be considered capital. When I buy computers for the office that's capital. Pens and paper are operating. While I think the cost seems a little high it is not if you consider software and 3 yr. warranty. So if you are looking for an excuse not to support our kids find a better reason than a dumb comment about what is capital.
Betsey Ross
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February 11, 2013
Another good reason to vote against SPLOST. These are not capital improvements, and I can go buy a fantastic Dell laptop for far less than these deals named here. What a crock.

And why just name the school with the REMOVABLE computer cart? How long do you think before that school is broken into and the removable cart absconded with?

Business101
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February 12, 2013
Betsy- you are about as dim as they come. School laptops come with software and warranty. The price is CHEAPER than a comparable laptop. Also some are refurbished laptops that are even lower in cost. And yes, computers ARE capital. Maybe you should crawl back in bed.
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