Kingsport school board turns down regular TV purchases but OKs touchscreens | Education | #Education

KINGSPORT — Kingsport’s school board Tuesday night gave the green light to buying 104 75-inch touchscreen or interactive devices, basically replacements for Smart Boards.

However, the board put the brakes on a plan to buy 77 70-inch standard LED televisions after board member Todd Golden said they are the same as consumer TVs and are cheaper from Amazon or Best Buy by $20,000 to $40,000.

The next option is to bid out the project instead of piggybacking on a bid another school system got in the past.

The only problem, Chief Finance Officer David Frye said, may be getting 77 new televisions shipped and installed by this fall. Some are to replace existing devices, while others would be new to selected classrooms, Frye said.

Both purchases are to be funded from the third installment of the federal Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Funds, or ESSER III.

BOARD rejects BUYING TVS VIA SEVIER COUNTY CONTRACT PRICES

The board voted 5-0 to reject a proposal to buy 77 Samsung LED 4K 69.5-inch televisions, cards, cords, delivery and installation before the 2022-23 school year begins in August for $109,648. The TVs from Central Technologies Inc. were to be purchased at a previously negotiated Sevier County Schools contract price open to all school systems in Tennessee.



Todd Golden, Kingsport City Schools Board of Education memer



“I just see about $30,000 of overcharging there,” Golden said in comparing the bid prices to Amazon and Best Buy prices for the same TVs.

“I’m just trying to be a good steward of our tax dollars,” Golden said, adding that the prices of the TVs in question likely has fallen since the Sevier County contract was done. “If we could save 20 grand, that’s real money.”



David Frye

Kingsport City Schools Chief Financial Officer David Frye



Frye said the system has until June 2024 to use the ESSER III money but that the plan is for all the devices to be installed before the start of school this August.

He said a proposal to buy the TVs would likely come to the school board for approval in April and then go to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

In addition, Frye said he doesn’t think Amazon or Best Buy would bid on the proposal and probably wouldn’t be in a position to provide free delivery and set-up of the equipment. That would mean Kingsport City Schools employees or a contractor would have to install the equipment.

“The installation of 77 TVs is going to take some time,” Frye said.

Meanwhile, board member Melissa Woods questioned if supply chain disruptions might make it difficult to get the TVs through mostly consumer retailers geared to serving home users.

She also said she wants to be sure the TVs are installed by the fall term, not just delivered.

BOARD APPROVES BUYING 104 BOXLIGHT DISPLAYS

In contrast, the board voted 5-0 to approve the purchase of 104 Interactive Boxlight ProColor Monitors for $281,320 from the same vendor through the Sevier County contract prices.

“It’s basically a 70-inch computer mounted on the wall,” Superintendent Jeff Moorhouse said, adding that the devices are an updated and different brand of Smart Boards. Golden said he understood the price on those devices because they are not as mass produced as the consumer televisions.

IN OTHER ACTION, THE BOARD:

• As previously reported approved moving forward with live broadcasts of the board work sessions and meetings, possibly starting with the Jan. 25 work session or Feb. 8 meeting. The broadcasts would be on WCSK 90.3 FM, the campus radio station of Dobyns-Bennett High School. Livestreaming of audio and video, used for both board sessions, teacher inservice and other events, is to be discussed for the 2022-23 budget.



Jeff Moorhouse

Dr. Jeff Moorhouse, Kingsport superintendent of schools



• Approved a proposal to spend $6,000 to get the Hattiesburg, Mississippi-based Impact Education Group to do the annual evaluation of Moorhouse for a cost of $6,500 plus actual travel up to $3,500. Board President Jim Welch said another proposal would have cost about $25,000.

Parameters of the evaluation are to be discussed at the Jan. 25 work session, when Welch said Impact Education would send a representative or do a Skype call with the board.

• Approved giving a maximum of five paid COVID-19 temporary sick leave days to employees. Any additional days would have to be taken using sick leave, and the days could be split over two different events.

• Rejected bids for landscape management and mowing and trimming services. Frye said the system instead will use the $300,000 set aside for that to hire four extra maintenance employees to do the work in question and buy some needed equipment. The workers would be available for other work outside mowing and landscaping seasons. The low landscaping bid was $259,000, and the low mowing and trimming bid was about $400,000, Frye said.

• Approved awarding a bid for the future Sevier Middle School (the former Sullivan North High School) ball field electrical switchgear upgrade to Massey Electric Inc. for $98,750, plus engineering of $5,000 and a 6% contingency of $5,925 for a total of $104,675 plus a $5,000 engineering cost. The project is intended to be done to use the ball field before Sevier occupies the school in the fall of 2023 or later.

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