The school district received delivery of 9,600 Chromebooks over the weekend, allowing it to equip all its students with devices.
Schools will have the device distributed to students before the beginning of the 2020-21 school year on September 8, officials said.
School officials secured the devices through a new vendor – Trox — under an emergency purchase, avoiding the usual procurement process.
If the district went through the usual procurement process it ran the risk of losing the devices.
“You lose them. In 24 hours, they are gone,” said school board president Kenneth Simmons. He said that’s what happened when one vendor told the district it had four thousand devices and the district tried to go through the usual procurement process.
Superintendent Eileen Shafer sought to purchase 13,825 Chromebooks through CDW in June. But that effort failed to materialize because of sanctions against a Chinese manufacturer, Hefei Bitland, that was producing the devices for Lenovo.
Lenovo has cut ties with the manufacturer, accused of playing a role in putting more than 1 million Muslims in concentration camps in Xinjiang, China, also known as East Turkestan.
Shafer sought to use $3.5 million in federal Cares Act funds to purchase the devices.
A figure was not available how much the district paid Trox for the devices. Shafer’s spokesman, Paul Brubaker, could not immediately be reached for comments on Tuesday morning.
The district is waiting on the delivery of another 4,000 devices. In the meantime, school officials have refurbished 6,000 Chromebooks to give to students ahead of the start of the new school year.
With weekend deliveries and the refurbished devices, the district will be able to give every student a Chromebook before the start of the school year.
Email: [email protected]