BRADENTON – The Manatee County School District expects to receive 6,139 “ThinkPad” computer devices during the next week that will be available for student instruction when school starts back in August. The devices – Lenova ThinkPad Twist Secure Convertible Laptops and Tablets – were bought at a significant savings by the school district. The new ThinkPads will be used to support student online testing requirements as well as regular classroom instruction including online research, simulation activities, collaborative partnership and communication activities.
The original price for the ThinkPads was approximately $1,400 per unit, but the district was able to secure 6,139 of the devices at a price of $425 per unit. That equates to a savings for the school district of close to $6 million.
“This purchase, which was approved by our school board at its last meeting, directly ties in to Goal 6 of our district’s new Strategic Plan which states we will ‘Cultivate innovation and provide appropriate technology and support to improve instruction and operations,” said Superintendent Rick Mills. “These innovative ‘ThinkPad’ devices will help our students and teachers move forward around effective support for quality instruction in our classrooms.”
The purchase of the ThinkPad’s is part of an aggressive Informational Technology agenda put forward by Superintendent Mills and his leadership team, including Chief Information and Technology Officer, Mike Borysiewicz. Mr. Borysiewicz said one of the keys to this computer coup was to act fast while the devices were available.
“It is highly unusual for a public entity like a school district to act with such quickness and agility in acquiring these kinds of assets,” Mr. Borysiewicz said. “The School Board, Superintendent and everyone involved responded to this opportunity in a way usually only seen in private businesses.”
Deputy Superintendent of Operations Don Hall emphasized that the funds to pay for the ThinkPads came out of the district’s Capital Funds, not the General Fund or sales tax funds. Mr. Hall also stated that district leaders will be refining the deployment plan for the new devices during the next several weeks leading up to the start of the new school year on Monday, August 18, 2014.
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