Bids for Rowan-Salisbury Schools devices tops $4.5 million

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 9, 2020

Carl Blankenship

SALISBURY — Bid for the sale of Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ outgoing fleet of technology devices has passed $4.5 million with only two bidders remaining.

Chief Technology Officer David Blattner during Monday’s 4 p.m. meeting will request the district Board of Education approve the sale of about 20,000 Apple devices to Second Life Mac, based in the Chicago area. Devices will be collected from students in September and they will be replaced with new iPads.

The board approved entering into a new lease with Apple shortly after schools were ordered to close in March and then began the upset bid process. The new contract totals $12.3 million and requires the Board of Education pay Apple $3.5 million per year until 2024.

The first round of bidding for old devices started with six interested parties and a top bid of $2.98 million. Vendors who bid on device lots like the school’s often refurbish them for resale. The cost associated with the company assisting the district with safely exchanging the devices is built in to the bid.

Associate Superintendent of Resources Carol Herndon on Monday also will give an update on employee leave due to circumstances involving COVID-19.

Most cases where leave would be merited due to COVID-19 would result in emergency paid sick leave which would provide up to two weeks of 100% pay if the employee is ordered to quarantine, is told to quarantine by a health care provider or are actively seeking a diagnosis with COVID-19 symptoms. Pay would be capped at $511 per day.

An employee could receive two weeks of pay at two thirds of the normal pay rate capped at $200 per day for caring for someone who is ordered to quarantine or told to self-quarantine by a health care provider, or are experiencing “any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”

An employee could receive 12 weeks of leave pay at 2/3 rate if caring for a child whose school or child care is closed due to COVID-19.

The updated documents include mention that if an employee is advised to telework by a health care provider whose role has in-person requirements, that employee, if possible, could perform “meaningful, alternative telework.”

In other meeting items:

• Herndon will also present a job description for new health room assistants for schools, who will be in place to assist with COVID-19 screening and infection control. The assistants would be placed on 10-month contracts and report to school nurses and the director of student services.

• Director of Federal Programs Jerri Hunt will present the portion of CARES Act funding the district must share with local private schools, which was calculated to $236,478.51 of the $4.7 million distributed to the district for five participating private schools.

The district set aside $700,000 to ensure it could cover the share for private institutions.

• Associate Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann will present an application for the Need-Based Public School Capital Fund. The fund historically has only been available for counties which are ranked Tier 1 on the N.C. Department of Commerce County Distress Rankings, but has been made available to Tier 2 counties like Rowan for the past two years.

The grant provides one-to-one matching funding for capital projects up to $10 million for Tier 2 counties, but Tier 1 counties are eligible for up to $15 million in one-to-three matching funds.

Matching funds means an entity would have to spend a certain amount toward a project to receive the funding. In the case of RSS, if it was awarded $10 million in grant funding, it would have to spend $10 million on capital projects to receive that funding.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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