Atlanta school district to lease 40,000 computers for $25 million

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring presented a plan to the school board Monday to lease 40,000 computers for students. Hyosub Shin / AJC FILE PHOTO



All Atlanta Public Schools students will have access to a computer after the school board approved a nearly $25 million contract to lease up to 40,000 iPads and Chromebooks.

The board on Monday unanimously approved the equipment lease for up to five years, which will allow the district to provide each student with a computer.

The district will lease Apple iPads for students in prekindergarten through second grade. Students in third through 12th grades will use Chromebooks.

Since the pandemic prompted school districts to switch to online learning, APS has distributed thousands of computers to its roughly 52,000 students. The district handed out devices that previously had been kept in schools for in-classroom use, and it also launched a fundraising drive through its philanthropic foundation to purchase computers for students to keep.

District officials said the just-approved contract will provide devices for about 40,000 students. APS can return the computers at any time during the five-year lease. The district will pay about $6.6 million in the first year of the contract.

The total cost for all five years is estimated at $24.6 million. Private funds raised by the district’s foundation will cover about $7.5 million of that cost, with the remainder coming from federal coronavirus relief dollars and sales-tax revenue received by APS.

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“We are excited that this positions Atlanta Public Schools to be fully one-to-one,” said Superintendent Lisa Herring.

Board Chairman Jason Esteves also praised the technology move and said it will benefit students during and after the coronavirus crisis.

“Not during the pandemic, not for right now, but for the future — every student will have technology at their fingertips,” he said.