Dell & Apple Duke It Out For Small Pittsburgh School District

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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette is reporting that Apple is in the lead for a bid to supply the Quaker Valley School Districtis students and teachers with computers. The school district is small, with some 1600 students and 70 teachers, and was the recipient of a US$2 million education grant from the state of Pennsylvania. The paper is reporting that the deal will include 1600 iBooks, 70 PowerBook G4s, a few G4 Cubes for the library (fanless and quiet), and a PowerSchool package for helping teachers, students, and parents work together to monitor the studentsi progress. PowerSchool was acquired by Apple on March 14th of this year.

The school board hasnit yet voted to approve the deal yet, but the articleis tone suggests that Apple is in the lead and has the proposal that the district wishes its board to approve. The really interesting thing is that the vendor-list was narrowed to two contenders, Apple and our old friends at Dell. According to the article:

District officials had narrowed the choice of hardware supplier to Dell and Apple. While the board still must formally award the contract to Apple, it has released some details of Appleis proposal.

Under the proposal, Apple will provide the teachersi computers for free. Joe Marrone, district technology director, said the district could not have afforded such powerful computers otherwise. Also included are upgrades to district secretariesi computer systems.

The total hardware and service package from Apple would normally carry a $5 million price tag. But Marrone said Apple offered the package to Quaker Valley at less than half that amount. He declined to give an exact price until the district formally approves the contract.

School staff yesterday also got a peek at the districtis new student accounting system by PowerSchool. The integrated grade-book software allows teachers and parents to monitor everything from grades to homework to lunch money accounts 24 hours a day with just the click of a mouse. The software normally costs in the $200,000-to-$250,000 range but the district negotiated a price just under $75,000.

There is more information in the article that we did not quote, so check it out. Thanks to Observer Kathy for pointing us to this article.

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