SHELTON — Having a new school district IT director is already paying dividends.

School administrators told the Board of Education Wednesday that technology director Glenn Newman — while doing routine contacts with various vendors — learned that Wholesale Computer in Trumbull had 684 Chromebooks available for purchase.

With schools across the country potentially using only distance learning or some type of in-school and distance learning hybrid model, Chromebooks and laptops are in high demand, said school Finance Director Rick Belden. During the budget process, the board stated the district needed 1,450 Chromebooks for the 2020-21 school year to meet the schools’ technology requirements.

That prompted the Board of Education to vote to waive the bid process on purchase of the 684 Chromebooks for $287,280. The funds for which, according to interim Superintendent Beth Smith, will come from the CARES Act pandemic funds and a $10,000 grant from Lockheed Martin.

“The motion ... was to skip the bid process and allow us to purchase Chromebooks outright from Wholesale Computer, a business that we have used in the past for such purchases,” said Smith. “The motion expedites the purchase.

“Since they have 684 Chromebooks available, we want to purchase them as quickly as possible due to the demand,” added Smith.

Smith said the CARES Act money needs to be used for “equity and access. The money will be used for the purchase of these Chromebooks, hot spots for families and social-emotional learning materials and programs.”

The total amount the city will receive from the CARES Act has yet to be determined. It was originally thought to be more than $400,000, but that number could be lower.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com