CHESTER – Departing from an historical strategy of purchasing computers outright, the Chester school board has authorized administration to begin a leasing program instead.
At its June 5 meeting, the school board authorized the lease of 82 computers at a price of a little over $28,000 per year for three years. The decision comes after a discussion at the previous monthly meeting about how to move forward with technology purchases at the school.
As previously reported by the Tri-Town Times, principal Leslie Leahy and superintendent Jim Gaylord had proposed using surplus funds from the current year to purchase three classroom laptop computer carts, but school board members questioned the wisdom of continually buying computers, something members said would keep the school playing catch-up and would create a replacement cost bubble in the future.
Member Mike Romick was vocal about leasing instead of buying. Benefits of the leasing program lauded by members and administration were the ability to keep budgeting level from year to year while keeping technology up to date, and the fact that maintenance on the machines would be handled by the leasing company.
Leahy, together with the school’s information technology (IT) specialist, Ryan Frazier, presented bids for leasing for multiple companies and brands. A long discussion about which computers to move forward with and how many should be purchased took place.
The funding for the computers will come out of next year’s technology budget, not from surplus.