Friday, April 13, 2018

Oconee County Board Of Education To Be Asked to Spend Sales Tax Revenue On Computers For Teachers And Students

$1 Million Bid

Oconee County School administrators will ask the county Board of Education on Monday to spend nearly $1 million to buy computer equipment as part of the system’s efforts to have one computer for every student in the schools.

Claire Buck, chief academic officer for the Oconee County School System, is recommending that the Board accept a $949,647 bid by Virtucom, of Norcross in Gwinnett County, to provide 3,100 computer and mobile devices.

The mobile devices will be available for secondary, middle and high school teachers before they leave for the summer, Buck said. Elementary school teachers got their mobile devices in the spring of last year, she said.

The School System plans to use Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax monies to pay for the equipment.

The Board of Education holds it regular meeting at 5 p.m. on Monday in the Superintendents Building at 34 School Street in Watkinsville.

Work Session

Virtucom was the low bidder among the four companies that submitted responses to a request for proposals issued on Feb. 5 by the School System, Chief Academic Officer Buck told the Board of Education at its work session on Monday.

Claire Buck, Chief Academic Officer, Before Board

Buck said Virtucom was the sole bidder that met all of the specifications outlined.

The request for proposals asked the bidder to propose a configuration of desktop devices, Chromebooks, and laptops.

“The products proposed must not be at the consumer level but must be at the enterprise/corporate level,” the Request for Proposals stated.

Buck told the Board that the expenditure was part of the System’s plan to have at least one computer for each student.

Anisa Sullivan Jimenez, director of communications, told me subsequently that the plan is to reach that goal by 2020.

Board of Education member Tim Burgess asked Buck to come back to the Board on Monday with information on how the $949,647 expenditure fits with other plans for spending for the current Education Local Option Sales Tax, which went into effect at the first of the year.

School Safety

Dallas LeDuff, director of Student Services for Oconee County Schools, returned to the Board on Monday to elaborate on his presentation on school safety at the Board work session in March.

At that meeting, he told members of the Board of Education that Oconee County Schools have procedures in place to provide safety at the system’s campuses.

“I wanted to follow that up with how we support the social and emotional well being of our students, because we provide that as an essential part of providing a safe and challenging learning environment,” LeDuff said at the meeting on Monday.

The School system has one counselor in every one of its elementary schools, two counselors in each of its middle schools, and three counselors in each of its two high schools, LeDuff said.

“Our counselors work with school staff to provide instruction in a broad range of topics, some of which are resiliency, friendship, conflict resolution, taking responsibility and teamwork,” he said.

The System also has a full-time nurse in each school and school social workers who support students and families and work with the community to bring resources back to the schools, LeDuff said.

Construction Updates

Brock Toole, chief operations officer for the schools, told the Board that construction at the Dove Creek Elementary School in the far west of the county “is progressing on time.”

He said that coordination with the county for construction of the entrances on Hog Mountain Road is going well and that the goal is to keep a construction entrance open at all times.

On March 27, the Oconee County Board of Commissioners awarded a contract for $2.6 million to E.R. Snell Contractor of Snellville for road improvements for the Dove Creek Elementary School.

Construction at Oconee County High School also “continues on schedule, is progressing very well,” Toole said.


I was not able to attend the Board of Education meeting on Monday, but Ann Stoneburner did attend and made the video below.

Chief Academic Officer Buck began speaking about the computer bids at 12:30 in the video.

Director of Student Services LeDuff began his report at 15:58.

Chief Operations Officer Toole spoke at 25:23 in the video.

OCO: BOE 4 9 18 from Lee Becker on Vimeo.


Anonymous said...

Will the computers assigned to the students be left on school property or will they be taken to the student’s home? If they are to be taken off school grounds I hope sufficient insurance is involved.

Xardox said...

1. Good point from Anonymous 10:07.

2. "Board of Education member Tim Burgess asked Buck to come back to the Board on Monday with information on how the $949,647 expenditure fits with other plans for spending for the current Education Local Option Sales Tax, which went into effect at the first of the year."
They have the money. Gotta spend it.
Here's an idea: Teachers' salaries. About time the money got out of Administrations' paws.