Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BOE Approves Bogus Resolution

This afternoon, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted (again) on Superintendent Joshua's Starr's plan to buy 2,000 Promethean brand Interactive White Boards for $8,949,719.

This time, Superintendent Starr's resolution said that MCPS was going to use the MEEC 2012-14 Contract to purchases the 2,000 Interactive White Boards.

The Board of Education unanimously approved this new Resolution.

There's just one problem.  The MEEC IT Hardware contract did not specifically include the Interactive White Boards by Promethean.

Oh, oops.  Don't you hate when that happens? You vote on a contract that doesn't include what you want to buy?  

The MEEC 2012-2014 Contract was not intended for the purchase of 2,000 Interactive White Boards.  A purchase of that nature should be done as a separate procurement by the educational agency. An RFP would be put out, bids would be taken, a contract would be selected.  It a process established by Maryland Education procurement law.  But, that wasn't done for Promethean products. 

What have we learned? MCPS is going to buy thousands of Promethean brand products without any competitive bidding.

What we don't know? How MCPS is actually going to buy these items.  

But, we just know we are getting the best price. Right? It's only $8,949,719 why even think about it.


  1. I don't read religiously so forgive me if it's posted. It would be worth repeating once in a while. What are the maintenance costs on these systems.

    The 9 million might be okay if they never broke or became obsolete..

    1. The warranty on Promethean brand Interactive White Boards is 7 years. After that time it seems that they simply need to be replaced. We haven't found a lot of information about repairing them, only replacing them.

      They can start failing before 7 years, and in the meantime they need replacement bulbs for their projectors that cost about $300 each.


      For a good discussion of the cost of Promethean brand Interactive White Boards versus alternatives, read this piece by the Director of Instructional Technology in a North Carolina school district:


    2. Promethean brand Interactive White Boards are already obsolete. Promethean World, LLC is failing. The company has been waiting for the 2,000 order from MCPS to reassure investors.


      Delay in large order...that would be MCPS...


      We have been following this story and this information was brought to the attention of the County Council. The Councilmembers then asked MCPS if Promethean World, LLC was OK. MCPS said they talked to the Promethean World, LLC President and he said everything was fine.

      If this were a comedy this would be funny. But, it's not a comedy. These are our elected officials behaving like they have no clue how to handle finances. We will pay the price for their irresponsible behavior in higher taxes.


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