The agenda for the Kanawha County school board’s 4 p.m. meeting Monday includes a planned vote on a $16.9 million expense related to Apple technology.
But public details are scarce. This is the only information the agenda provides on the issue:
“D. Master Lease Agreement with Apple (Enclosure 131) Recommended Motion: I move the Board approval [sic] Schedule No. 3 dated June 15, 2017, to the Master Lease Purchase Agreement with Apple Inc., dated July 5, 2014, in order to provide for the acquisition, purchase, financing and leasing of certain technology devices and services for teachers and students in Kanawha County School District in the total amount of $16,908,798.70, and authorize the President and Secretary of the Board to execute such documents as are reasonably necessary in connection therewith, all as shown in Enclosure 131.”
What is in Enclosure 131?
Kanawha schools Superintendent Ron Duerring generally doesn’t allow the public to see the “enclosure” documents until the meetings occur. The school system has, with some past exceptions, refused to provide the enclosure documents to the Gazette-Mail, and it didn’t provide Enclosure 131.
At meetings, printed copies of the enclosure documents are available to the public.
In the case of Monday’s meeting, which will be held at 200 Elizabeth St. on Charleston’s East End, the contents of the enclosure document regarding the $16.9 million expense won’t be available until the printed documents are placed outside the meeting room before the meeting at which the vote is planned to happen.
Barring some strict deadline for the decision, the board could delay Monday’s vote on the issue.
Kanawha schools technology director Leah Sparks previously said that in the 2014-15 school year, more than 14,000 Apple iPad tablet computers were distributed — one for every student in the county’s public middle and high schools. This was done through the school system’s roughly $14 million Learning 20 / 20 initiative.
Sparks said Kanawha’s Learning 20 / 20 plan costs about $2.5 million per year for a five-year contract with Apple. She said the school system was required to use the federal and state funding involved on technology, and said the cost pays for training teachers to use the devices.
Briana Warner, the school system’s communications director, did provide the Gazette-Mail with some extra information on Monday’s agenda item.
She said the current contract with Apple actually is for six years and ends at the close of the 2019-20 school year, and the vote will be on a proposed lease renewal that “would run 2017 through 2021.” As part of the proposed renewal, Warner said Sparks will be proposing that the school system trade in all of its current Apple products, which also include MacBook laptops and perhaps some other items, and get new Apple products.
“I think the primary reason for the renewal now is…