MAPS sells off old computers and agrees to purchase new ones

Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education president Dr. Paul Antal (left) swears in new board of education member Nick Jaskiw at Wednesday meeting.

Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education president Dr. Paul Antal (left) swears in new board of education member Nick Jaskiw at Wednesday meeting.

MANISTEE — Last week’s technology sale at Manistee Area Public Schools went well, but not to the level school officials hoped to achieve.

School technology director Ken Blakey-Shell said the district sold did  a fair amount of the Apple Macbook (500 machines used by the grades 9-12 students that were priced at $365) and the Apple Macbook Pros (35 machines used by the teachers priced at $450) computers, but that he expected the sales to be even higher.

District officials made the decision to sell the devices because they entered into a three-year lease with Apple to purchase new Apple Mac Pros for the students. School officials felt the best course of action to take with the previous machines was to attempt to sell them to the general public.

“We sold a few less devices than we anticipated, as I was guess it was going to be somewhere between 100 and 200 based upon inquiries  that came in ahead of time,” he said. “As things stand right now we sold 78 of the machines ( all of the Macbook Pros), which is slightly less than what we thought, but still a good amount of computers.”

Blakey-Shell said the district did sell many of the 200 Dell latitude E5400 machines for $70 or $80 depending upon the model.

“We did sell  about 160 of the Dell computers, so that is pretty good number,” he said. “The Macbook Pros were a hot commodity and they were gone very quickly, but we anticipated it.”

The computers that didn’t sell will now be sold to a company in the Chicago area that purchases large quantities of used computers at a time.

“They basically buy them all back and then go through them computer by computer and assessing them before sending us a check for the total amount,” he said. “That will take place in the next few days, and we should have it all done before the end of the month. We will not get the same value for what we were asking just because of the transportation, packaging and all that stuff.”

Blakey-Shell said the technology staff really didn’t keep track of which kids purchased computers, but the majority of the MacBooks did end up going to students.

“Many families looked at it that they could end up buying a Mac for $365 or paying the take home fee which almost ends up being the same amount,” he said. “By buying it, they could keep it all summer long.”

The board voted on Wednesday evening to purchase from Apple Inc. the new laptops for the high school and iPads, iPad keyboards and replacement staff computers for $694,448. They also voted to approve the purchase of iPads to replace  the iPad 2 which would be sold a year early for $62,270 and the purchase of the secondary teacher iPads for $18,480.

Total cost of the purchase that will be spread over three years is $775,198. The district budgets $350,000 a year for technology out of what it receives from the Manistee County Local Revenue Sharing Board in Payment in Lieu of Taxes funds.

“We anticipate that it will be middle to the end of July when those come in and then for the rest of July and August we will end up prepping it and ready for the orientation dates in the middle of August,” he said.

Blakey-Shell said that in the interim they have had to issue temporary loaner Mac computers to the teachers.

“We sold their machines off and they have some professional development scheduled for this summer, so they need something to work on,” he said. “The new machines are similar to the old ones in what they can do so it is going to be a seamless transition.”

MAPS board of education president Dr. Paul Antal said the purchase will keep the district ahead of the game in technology.

“We all received emails from our teachers about technology and how they are going to all these other conferences to further their training and what they are finding where we are at and where other school systems that we are way ahead of where we are and the other teachers are a little jealous,” he said. “It isn’t just having the technology, but a part of it is having the infrastructure and people to support it.”

Fellow board Tom Williams agreed.

“It’s only a matter of time before every school in the state is going to have to get laptops,” he said. “But we are far ahead of the rest.”

New board member Nick Jaskiw was also officially sworn in at the meeting. Jaskiw was selected by the board at the June 11 meeting to replace Joel Raddatz who resigned from the board.

Editor’s note: Due to time constraints from the length of the meeting a story on the 2014-15 budget that was approved will run in an upcoming edition.

 

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.