BOE approves computer purchase totalling $36 million

The Henry County Board of Education listens to a presentation from Brian Blanton, assistant superintendent of technology services, during the board’s work session March 8. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

McDONOUGH — The Henry County Board of Education unanimously approved the purchase of 48,775 computers Monday.

The more than $36 million purchase includes 35,700 Hewlett Packard Student Chromebook 11 G5 laptops, 3,570 HP Educator Probook 430 laptops and 9,505 iPad Air 2 tablets.

The purchase, which will be funded by the current E-SPLOST, is intended to support instruction in the classroom, and one of five personalized learning tenets set by Henry County Schools, according to Brian Blanton, assistant superintendent for technology services.

“It’s becoming more necessary to take advantage of digital content,” Blanton said, adding that it’s the way information is produced today.

“By the time books like science and social studies are printed, the information is out of date,” Blanton said. “Students get the most up-to-date information digitally.”

Blanton noted the computers will not take the place of teacher instruction, but rather it will enhance what happens in the classroom.

“It’s one more instructional tool for our teachers,” he said.

The iPad tablets will be for grades kindergarten through second grade and will not leave school property. Students in grades three through 12 will be issued a laptop which they can take home.

Blanton said every computer will use the district’s web filtering system that blocks inappropriate websites like gambling, even if it leaves school property.

“It’ll be just like they’re using it at school on our network,” he said.

Included in the purchase is services from Lexicon Technologies of Conyers and Virtucom Inc. in Norcross.

Lexicon will provide replacement computers that are accidentally damaged and will store the devices during summer break, among other services.

Virtucom services will include technicians to assist in the repair process of new computers as well as any current technology owned by the district.

Blanton said while researching the computers purchase, the technology department “considered the best value for Henry County Schools.”

“It’s a lot of taxpayer money, and we appreciate the support from our community for passing the E-SPLOST,” Blanton said.

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