SNOW HILL – Worcester County schools will be outfitted with Apple products this fall following approval of a new technology plan this week.
The Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday approved school system officials’ plan to enter into a multi-year lease agreement with Apple. The agreement will bring Apple TVs and iPads to the county’s schools.
In 2014, the school system launched a digital conversion with the goal of bringing a digital device to every student. Last spring, however, officials were advised the Chromebooks being used for state assessments would no longer be supported. That news, paired with the fact that many of the school system’s devices were “aging out,” prompted Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor to create a technology task force.
“We feel we have crafted a sustainable long-term plan for technology in Worcester County that will not only address this looming problem but provide a transformative solution to our technology needs that will enhance student learning for years to come,” Taylor said.
At the recommendation of the committee, which met with both Microsoft and Apple, Taylor said the school system wanted approval to enter into a multi-year lease with Apple. Taylor said the county already provided the school system with $500,000 annually to go toward digital devices. The lease with Apple would require an additional $150,000 the first year and an additional $375,000 in fiscal year 2022, fiscal year 2023 and fiscal year 2024. No funding is required until after July 1.
“First time according to Apple that they’ve done this with a school system — 0% financing for the life of the contract,” Taylor said. “A four-year cycle — of which they’ve never gone to four years it’s always been three — with us we negotiated a four-year cycle which will stretch out the cost.”
At the end of the four years, the school system will purchase the leased devices for $1 each.
“But that is built into our lease so it’s not actually going to be an additional amount,” said Carrie Sterrs, the school system’s coordinator of public relations and special programs. “We would be paying them a dollar for us to physically own the devices.”
Taylor said if desired the school system could then sell the devices back to Apple at an estimated $100 a device.
“At the conclusion of this multi-year lease in fiscal year 2024, the school system, through a buyback process, will utilize the residual value of the cycle one iPad fleet to fund, in part, the first year of the cycle two multi-year agreement,” Taylor wrote in a report to the commissioners. “We anticipate subsequent refresh cycles, beginning with cycle two, will not require additional budgeted resources.”
The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the technology plan and funding outlined.