OXFORD — Three years ago, the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) school district entered a lease-purchase agreement with Apple Computers. With the current lease paid, and, encouraged by their performance, the school board approved a new lease-purchase agreement during the regular monthly meeting in March.
“It’s worked out extremely well for us,” said District Superintendent Dr. Paula Vincent. “We weren’t sure when we went into that what we would think of it,” she added. “We’ve lost maybe a couple machines over the three years, but actually they’ve held up rather well.” She explained to the board that pursuing a new agreement would allow the district to rotate older computers out and provide newer, more up-to-date machines for the staff. It would also enable the establishment of at least a couple more labs. Vincent also noted the trend toward what she called “mobile labs,” bringing computers directly into the classrooms rather than merely in standalone computer labs.
The new agreement is less of a financial commitment than three years ago yet provides approximately 31 more machines.
“It just tells you how much technology has changed,” Vincent said. “We can do it today at this price or in July for another 20 thousand dollars. Obviously, they want the sale in this quarter.” Vincent recommended the board approve the agreement and pointed out it was in the PPEL (Physical Plant and Equipment Levy) budget, pending approval.
Board President Daniel Schaapveld asked if the agreement would provide all of the new computers needed.
“This meets what everyone tells me they really would like to have,” Vincent replied. “Schools are going away from the personalized computer for every student,” she added, explaining the difficulties in maintaining and managing so many computers. “Yes, it gives particularly Tom (McDonald, High School Principal) and Brad (Fox, Middle School Principal) an increase in computers over what they have now. Our elementary schools are in good shape,” said Vincent. Additionally, the purchase will allow the district to keep the mobile labs in the Amana and North Bend Elementary schools, and establish one in the Oxford Elementary, where more students are currently enrolled than in the others. The arrangement will also boost the number of computers in the middle and high schools as well.
Vincent clarified the agreement is only for computers, and not for “smart boards” or projectors, which fall under different funding streams.
As a lease-purchase, Vincent assured the board it was not required to go out for public bid. Also addressing a concern about getting Mac computers in a world seemingly dominated by Windows based operating systems, Vincent explained the computers would be “dual platform,” set up to function as Macs or PCs. She further explained the business lab computers were all Windows, but the graphics and art classes use the Mac side.
“We try to pay attention to that both ways,” Vincent said.