Baltimore County Board of Education approves $14.8 million contract for Chromebooks

The Board of Education of Baltimore County on Tuesday approved a package of contracts, including a $14.8 million contract for Chromebooks.

The unanimous vote was unceremonious and was without debate or discussion. The slate of 11 contracts came with a recommendation of approval from the board’s building and contracts committee.

The contract in question provides for Chromebooks and carts for the school system’s Department of Information Technology, along with delivery services and licenses for use in schools and offices. The contract was awarded to three bidders: CDW Government LLC, based in Illinois, to provide the devices; Daly Computers, Inc., based in Clarksburg, to provide computer carts;and Hunt Valley-based Data Networks of America Inc., to handle Google licenses.

The contract was awarded based on the lowest responsible bids.

The purchase and delivery of Chromebooks for Baltimore County is part of the system’s plan to switch from HP laptop devices to Chromebooks in its schools.

The system is also reducing the number of devices in some classrooms. Beginning in the fall, rather than a one-to-one policy, there will be one Chromebook for every five first- and second-graders. This comes after sustained parental concern that too many devices in classrooms and too much screen time for younger students could be problematic.

The switch comes more than a year after the previous school board approved a $140 million technology contract to provide laptop devices in the system’s high schools. The decision at the time was split, with Kathleen Causey and Julie Henn, who now serve as board chair and vice chair, respectively, voting in opposition.

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