Leasing Chromebooks: A New Approach to Providing Educational Technology
In the world of education, the use of technology has become increasingly important. With students’ lives becoming more and more digitally oriented, it is crucial for schools to provide access to up-to-date technology to prepare students for life beyond the classroom. However, funding and managing budgets for technology can be a challenge for school districts.
Taking the lead on the Chromebook refresh project was Nicole Andrell, Technology Supervisor at La Center School District. Andrell recognized the need for updated technology and proposed a leasing program for Chromebooks. This program allows the district to provide students with the latest technology, while also remaining fiscally on track.
To develop the leasing plan, Andrell worked closely with Andy Hashimoto, Vice President from Insight Financial Services. Hashimoto played an instrumental role in providing the leasing plans necessary to build the device lifecycle program and gain school board approval.
Andrell also partnered with Ednetics, a company that provides educational technology solutions, to select and deliver the Chromebooks. Pete Duncan, Account Manager from Ednetics, worked closely with Andrell throughout the entire process.
“When we first discussed leasing with Nicole it seemed like a perfect way to help La Center School District meet their objectives. We were excited to help them find a creative solution.” said Duncan. “Our Device team was able to provide guidance on which devices would work best for their needs, and the best equipment and pricing available.”
Leasing Chromebooks has several benefits for La Center School District. By leasing, the district is able to earmark an annual budget for student devices, allowing for predictable costs and reduced upfront expenses. Unique to this program, and important to Andrell, was including accidental damage protection, which will save the district thousands of dollars annually.
In addition, the leasing program provides break-fix solutions, including a first-year manufacturer’s warranty and three years of accidental damage protection. Furthermore, Ednetics provides Lenovo certified technicians to assist with break-fix issues.
The district is also able to avoid the issue of having out-of-date devices. Within two years, all the current devices will be out of date and ineligible to be used for state testing. By leasing, the district will always have access to the latest devices, ensuring that students have the necessary tools to succeed.
“This year we hit a Chromebook cliff. Over half of our Chromebooks were AUE (Auto Update Expiration). Funding for Chromebooks has dried up post COVID, but the greater incorporation of technology in education we saw appear during COVID remains. A lot of curriculums, instruction, apps, tools, assessments, state tests, and even educational websites still rely heavily on schools being 1:1 on up-to-date devices. We hope this program is a game-changer for us,” said Andrell. “The lease allows us to provide our students with the latest technology while staying within our budget this year and having predictable costs for the next 4 years. We are receiving repair support for our small IT team, which is less expensive than hiring another employee for repairs, and it takes the burden off our district to surplus and dispose of end-of-life devices. The devices will be picked up by Insight at the end of our lease. It has been a win-win for everyone involved so far.”
The success of this leasing program could serve as an example for other school districts facing similar challenges. By taking a new approach to funding and managing budgets for technology, schools can provide students with the tools they need to succeed in the digital age.