JEFFERSON — Usually ordering Chromebook computers for the next school year is an April agenda item, but with a worldwide shortage in a smaller-size, school-appropriate laptops due to the pandemic, Jefferson schools Information Technology Director Jason Poeppel thought the district ought to get started on next year’s orders a few months earlier.

Addressing the Jefferson school board Wednesday night as it considered the bids for next year’s Chromebook order, Poeppel noted that the smaller order of replacement Chromebooks the district had ordered a couple of months ago has still not come in.

Having contacted eight companies and received eight different bids for next year’s Chromebook orders, Poeppel recommended the board go with the low bid from the vendor PDS at a cost of $212,801.51.

In addition, Poeppel noted that by ordering before March 1, the district saved another $4,000 to $8,000, as Chromebook prices were going up after that.

This covers the purchase of 463 11-inch non-touchscreen Chromebooks for higher-level students, 243 11-inch touchscreen Chromebooks for kindergarten and first-grade learners; and 71 14-inch non-touchscreen Chromebooks for instructional aides.

This purchase follows the district’s regular replacement schedule of the Chromebooks used by individual students and staffers. The touchscreen devices go to the youngest learners. Others in primary grades get regular Chromebooks, which are then replaced in a student’s fifth-grade year. The Chromebook received in fifth-grade follows an individual student until their freshman year when they receive a new one for their high school career.

Upon graduation, students can choose to purchase their Chromebook from the district for a very nominal fee.

Along with the successful bidder, PDS, the district had received bids from ElevITy, Heartland Business System, Insight, and Technology Plus.

Tierney Brothers declined to bid; Technology Resource Advisors did not respond, and the bid from CDW-G was incomplete as that company could not supply the 14-inch Chromebooks.

In other business, the Jefferson school board approved a continuation of the swimming coop with the Cambridge schools, extended the 4K contracts with Small World and Head Start, and accepted the resignation of East Elementary School teacher Jade Loehe, who has been with the district since her student teaching year in 2014, joining the regular school staff in 2015.

Loehe had nothing but positive things to say about East and the school district as a whole, but said she was leaving to take advantage of another opportunity.

Finally, the board approved an addendum for the Jefferson High School course catalog for 2021-22, which stipulates that students who take Advanced Placement U.S. History do not need to take the one semester civics course.

At the end of the meeting, the board recessed into closed session to consider nonrenewal of a staff member, to discuss salary parameters for the new high school principal and to discuss salary parameters and contract language for the new superintendent.

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