BOISE – We’ve had our first up close look at the laptop agreement between the state and Hewlett-Packard. The laptops seem to be the most controversial part of Proposition 3, an issue on the ballot come Election Day.
There are over 360 pages in the contract, outlining the nearly $182 million agreement. There's a lot to go through in the Students Come First Mobile Computing Initiative.
Eight pages in, we found the buyout agreement. If the voters decide not to pass this initiative, the contract just goes away. But if it passes and the state later decides to cancel it, there's a buyout clause. Part of the nearly $182 million budgeted for the eight-year contract includes the $14 million for buyout.
Something else of note, after four years HP can request to adjust the price no more than four percent, as long as HP can provide justification.
The cost of the laptops, maintenance, training, wireless, essentially everything to make this program work, is $292.77 per device. Here's a breakdown of what it will cost for the eight year contract.
The cost goes up as the program spreads from just teachers and administrators in the first year to one third of the high school students in year two. For the first five years, the contract is 17 percent higher than the estimate the State Department of Education gave the Legislature in 2011.
Luna’s office initially said the cost of the laptops and wireless capabilities in the schools would be $70.8 million for the first five years. The actual budget is $82.9 million.
Luna has secured $2.5 million for the first year of the project, and has requested $10.9 million more for the second year. The remaining years have not yet been budgeted, but again, in 2011, the Legislature was planning on a $70.8 million budget for the first five years of the project.
HP says the 4440s laptop either meet or exceed all of the requirements the state requested. With 7.5 hours of battery life, the computer should last the entire school day. Just in case it doesn’t, HP will provide schools with charging stations to make sure students have power to their laptops.
There's also an option for districts to buy a laptop after four years. That price is $35 per device. The district then can either resell them or use them in other schools, it’s their choice.
While there's a lot in this contract - it doesn't include every detail. There are still some minor details that need to be worked out in the next two months, things like how computers will be delivered to schools across the state.
There were five companies that responded to the state's request for proposal, Ace Computers, Dell, Lenovo, Apple and HP. The state Department of Purchasing says HP was the lowest bidder and the company that fit all of the state's requirements.