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Originally published: 2014-01-14 18:48:16
Last modified: 2014-01-14 18:49:01

WCS approves laptop proposal

by Allison Haver

The Watauga County Board of Education unanimously approved Monday the proposal for the "WCS 1:1" initiative, the school's program that provides laptops to students.

Chris Devera, director of technology services for Watauga County Schools, presented the proposal.

Devera and a planning committee met weekly in preparation for Monday night's proposal presentation to the board.

"We are a group of nine and we meet weekly. On occasion the group would grow to 12 when additional info or resources was needed,"said Devera in an email.

The school board approved the budget amendment to fund the WCS 1:1 initiative's overall cost of $1.9 million.

The approved proposal calls for a three-year lease, which would include the years 2014-2017. Hewlett-Packard is the selected vendor for the initiative and was the best choice, according to Devera.

"HP was very price-competitive and had the best options, we were impressed by them," Devera said.

Laptops provided will be the HP Elitebook 820 G1, and the devices will be issued to all K-12 teachers and students in grades 8 through 12. Students in grades 6 through 7 will share the equipment.

The accepted plan also budgeted in other items needed to make the initiative a success such as backpacks for grades 8-12, laptop carts for grades 6-7 and instructional technology for staff.

HP will purchase WHS's current Dell laptops at a cost of $50 per computer, which would generate $70,000 for the Watauga County school system.

Interim Superintendent David Fonseca thanked the board for approving the plan and amending the budget.

"Thank you for your mission of investing in our children," Fonseca said.