The Archbold Area School District won’t be able to purchase used Apple iPad tablet computers for $1 each, as was originally believed.
Archbold Area School Board members met Thursday, Aug. 16, and approved a three-year lease for the tablet computers, which will be distributed to Archbold High School students soon after the start of school.
During the meeting, members discussed changes in the lease that was originally proposed to them months ago.
The original lease was with Apple Finance. As part of that lease, the school would be able to purchase the three-year-old tablets from Apple for $1 each.
But under the new lease agreement with the Northern Buckeye Education Council, that was changed.
The district will be able to purchase the tablets for “fair market value.”
In an interview after the meeting, Jon Lugbill, school board president, said a couple of factors came into play.
First, the lease arrangements came through during the transition period as Royal Short, high school principal, and Joe Long, interim school superintendent, were moving into positions vacated by Tim Meister and David Deskins, respectively.
Second, Lugbill said the arrangement with Apple was more like a “lease to own” agreement, as opposed to a true lease for use of equipment.
“It all comes into play,” Lugbill said.
The numbers for the iPad program have been adjusted.
Instead of leasing 440 iPads, the number was reduced to 360.
Part of the reason was that 32 of the tablet computers were purchased earlier in the year for AHS staff, at a cost of $15,368.
Also, board members were told fewer tablets were needed due to an enrollment shift, as more students decided to attend Four County Career Center.
The annual lease payment to NBEC will be $71,274.94, as opposed to the originallyproposed lease of more than $79,000.
The total cost of the lease over three years is $213,824.82. The figure originally discussed by school officers was more than $237,000.
School district officials opted to lease the iPads from NBEC for two reasons.
Brett Gnagey, school district technology coordinator, said Apple could not provide the district with the cases he wanted for the iPads.
The aftermarket cases appear to have more padding than a standard Apple case, possibly offering more protection in case they are dropped.
The second reason is tablets leased through NBEC will have Air Watch management software, the same system used by NWOCA, the Northwest Ohio Computer Association. NWOCA provides computer servers for school districts across the region.
Gnagey said the software allows him to monitor the tablets, preventing students from loading unapproved applications onto the tablets.
Further, Air Watch will allow Gnagey to control what web browsers students can use to view Internet web pages after school hours.
By allowing students to only use a particular web browser, the school district can “filter” what websites students view.
No one knows what the fair market value of the iPads will be at the end of the three-year lease.
Figures of $25, $50, or perhaps more were discussed.
Gnagey said the district may buy a limited number of the tablets for use in the elementary and/or middle schools.
It also was noted the district may not want the old iPads at the end of three years.
Phil Nofziger, school board member, was absent from the meeting. The vote by board members was unanimous.
The next board meeting is today, Wednesday, 5:30 pm, in the AHS media center.– David Pugh