Georgiais Cobb County School District has responded to allegations made in the Marietta Daily Journal that it could have secured a better deal for its laptop initiative, which was awarded to Apple, simply because Henrico County schools in Virginia recently received a lower bid from Dell than Apple. After four years with Apple, Henrico County switched to Dell for the coming school year.
The Cobb County School District notes on its Web site that "Dell is one of four vendors that did bid on Cobbis plan to provide laptops to teachers, upgrade middle school labs and establish four high school pilot sites." The district says that Dellis proposal was US$3.6 million more than Appleis winning bid. IBM and Hewlett-Packard were the other companies that submitted proposals.
Cobb County explains that "the circumstances and needs in each school district are very different. Henricois laptop program, for instance, has been place for four years and the district has a well-established technical infrastructure already in place. That already established infrastructure will facilitate the transition to the next phase of Henricois program. In addition, all of Henricois teachers and many of its students are already trained in the use of the laptops. This training will also facilitate Dellis rollout in Henrico." Cobb County, in comparison, is starting from scratch.
Looking to the future, Cobb County thinks that Henricois contract shows "many encouraging signs," including the fact that school districts can switch vendors once the technology is in place, and that Cobb "can expect lower pricing once its support infrastructure and training are developed."