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School district signs three-year contract with Hewlett-Packard



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August 04, 2010 - The Oxford Community Schools Board of Education unanimously approved on Monday, July 26 an exclusive three year technology contract with Hewlett-Packard.

According to Tim Throne, the technology director for at Oxford High School, the agreement will bring upwards of $300,000 worth of computer equipment, software and professional development over the course of the next three years, with an option for an additional two years.

"Basically, there was about eight different companies that came together to put forward a complete proposal," Throne said.

"We put a proposal out that said we are going to agree to buy so many computers over the next three to five years, so they have a comfort knowing the district is committing to so many units," he added.

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Throne also mentioned that when he talked with companies about the proposal, it wasn't just for pieces and parts. It was to become partners.

"We want somebody who understands our vision, someone who will help us get where we want to be over the next three to five years," he said.

The district received responses from HP, Dell and Apple.

After looking over all three proposals, Throne presented the Board of Education the specifics of the HP contract at their July 12 meeting.

One of the highlights of the contract is he school district can become a "self-maintainer" at no charge.

"This means that when we order computers and the computer breaks, our own in house technicians can order the part, get it overnighted, swap the part out, get the computer fixed and send the old part back and the district gets reimbursed for doing that," Throne said.

He added that when a computer breaks now, they have to have an authorized person from HP come out and fix the computer.

Within the contract, Intecomp will provide five days a year of free training for the entire technology department, and Microsoft will provide quarterly online or onsite training sessions with their product specialists.

Intel is allowing teachers to participate in the Intel teach program, become a member of the School's of Distinction program and attend a national conference in Washington D.C.

According to Throne, the district knew that they were going to be spending money on technology over the next three years and they didn't want to go the traditional route of bidding out computers.

"The reason why we didn't want to do that is one, you may get a different vendor every time," he said. "Now you have pieces and parts sitting around from all different products, along with no concise inventory or concise way of fixing or maintaining them."

Throne also wanted to leverage all of the district's purchases.

"We knew that we were going to be buying a couple of thousand computers, but we knew that we weren't going to be buying them all at the same time. However, we wanted to leverage all 2,000 computers at the same time," he said.

Throne indicated this technology agreement will allow the district to provide the best educational opportunities for students coming through the district.

"It gives them access to technology they wouldn't have. We want to give them various kinds of access to information both in and out of school," said Throne.

"(We also want to) increase the efficiency in learning and the efficiency in teaching. We want to make our teachers better, and when our teachers become better, our students learn better."

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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