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School board approves lease adjustment

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com 

SALISBURY — The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education on Monday approved a minor change in its lease with Apple Inc.

The board approved the roughly $14 million lease at its Feb. 27 business meeting. It was approved by the Rowan County Commissioners on March 20.

But on Thursday, Apple informed school system staff that it is discontinuing the iPad Air 2 model listed in the lease. The company offered to provide the newest iPad model at a lower cost — resulting in a nearly $900,000 savings to the system over the three-year lease. According to the schools system’s chief strategy officer, Andrew Smith, the new model is more cost-effective overall as Apple moves to stay in the market for tablet computers.

The school system plans to order about 15,000 iPads, in addition to about 6,600 laptops. With the equipment adjustment, the lease will be roughly $13 million over three years, with the school system paying a $3 million down payment through the current device buy-back.

The board discussed the issue Monday. Chairman Josh Wagner and board member Travis Allen were absent.

The remaining five members of the board questioned what would happen to the savings from the lease.

“Where does that go?” board member Dean Hunter asked.

Superintendent Lynn Moody said the money would revert back to instructional funds or could be used to purchase cases and keyboards for the new devices. Thanks to the newer, more cost-effective model, the system can expect to save about $250,000 to $300,000 a year, and that money could be distributed to all of the district’s 35 schools, she said.

“It’s not a lot, but it is a lot to us,” she said.

The board agreed it could discuss the details at a later date.

According to the board’s lawyer, Ken Soo, the adjusted lease will not have to be reapproved bythe county commissioners since the change is not adding any expenditures.

The adjustment was unanimously approved.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved dates for summer school and remediation programs. This year, summer remediation will be at 14 sites across the county, up from last year’s four. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to participating students.
  • Discussed potential budget requests for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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