The Howard County Board of Education will have a meeting on April 7th and on the agenda under “Bids & Contracts” is CHROMEBOOKS AND CARTS – COVID-19 ACTION. Here is information from the fact sheet for that item:

1. In response to Governor Hogan’s Proclamation Declaration of State of Emergency – COVID-19, the State Superintendent’s closing of schools, and to ensure continuity of teaching and learning, the Howard County Public School System has initiated the below purchase.

2. On July 12, 2018, PC-8, the Board of Education (the Board) awarded RFP 059.18.B5, Laptop Computer Purchase, Setup, and Distribution, to CDWG Government LLC. The initial term was for four years with the option to renew for three additional one-year periods pending successful performance and availability of funding.

3. On 03/23/2020 HCPSS placed an order from CDWG Government LLC for 14,000 Chromebooks and 424 Chromebook carts.

4. The cost of the additional Chromebooks and carts is $5,783,988.00. The combined cost of Chromebooks and carts does not exceed the approved contract value of $15,160,000.00.


5. The emergency situation justifies the need to move forward with this purchase. Staff will be looking for savings in other areas of our budget, redeploying existing funds where possible, and continuing to monitor the possibility of state and federal reimbursements to fund these purchases. Given the duration of the process to receive reimbursement, it is likely that we may need to use funds from the HCPSS unassigned fund balance, if the expense cannot be covered through a categorical budget transfer. The Budget Office will be presenting the year-end categorical transfer on April 16, and at that time will provide additional information on the funding to support this purchase.


I looked up the contract with CDWG for the pricing on Chomebooks and Chromebook carts. Here is what I found:

  • Price for Chromebooks ($400.25). This includes the device, warranty, Google license and setup / delivery charges.
  • Price for Chromebook carts ($987.00). These carts can hold up to 36 Chromebooks.

So 14,000 Chromebooks should cost $5,603,500 and 424 carts should cost $418,488 for a total of $6,012,988 per the contact pricing noted on HCPSS website. Maybe there are other savings not noted above that reduces the cost of the purchase through CDWG. It is unclear based on the fact sheet noted on the agenda for April 7th.

Other technology items to support HCPSS distance learning during the COVID-19 outbreak  noted on the agenda include:

  • 1,000 Mobile Hot Spot Devices (via AT&T): $115,710
  • 7,300 Laptop Sleeves: $160,600

See the full agenda for the HoCoBOE meeting to be held tomorrow here:

Scott E


  1. Interesting that they could find nearly $6 million for this temporary problem, but could not do the same for the hundreds of teachers who will be moved out of their positions next year due to class size increases (thus creating a long term problem). Priorities.

  2. It should also be noted that this late in the game, 4-6 weeks after every other district has already purchased necessary assets, the supply of chromebooks is extremely limited. Howard county will be lucky if we can actually receive these in time to begin remote learning this year. I wonder if Dr. Martirano has a backup plan? Unlikely.

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