WASTE WATCH: Why pay one million dollars more per year for computer services

Updated: Tuesday, December 3 2013, 08:23 PM CST
WASTE WATCH:  Why pay one million dollars more per year for computer services story image
OKALOOSA COUNTY   -- 
Why would the Okaloosa School District pay an extra million dollars a year for computer services?
That's the question two groups are asking,  after a committee okayed the high bid on a contract.

The contract is to provide and manage all the district's computers.
The current vendor, L-3, put in a bid of 528,000 dollars a month.
   
Another company, Edcovation, bid 443,000 a month.
A committee recommended L-3, despite the higher cost.    
   
The committee is *not required to say exactly what's worth an extra million dollars a year..
Laura Hussey "The companies that came through these doors trying to snag the school district's it management contract made presentations to a committee. They were ranked by each member, and by the whole group"
   
When the five individual rankings were combined, the current vendor L-3 came out higher by almost a hundred points.
   
As a taxpayer, Philip Rose says he'd like to know how exactly how those points are scored.
"All this stuff should be totally transparent to the taxpayer, cause we're the ones coughing up the money"
   
The other company, Edcovation, filed a protest saying the system is anything but transparent.
   
They said scoring criteria were applied "inconsistently and irrationally".
Their bid was lower by a million dollars a year.

Lee Pritchard/Former Teacher "Why can they spend a million dollars more, when they could be giving it to the teachers? They could be giving it to the schools, some of those schools need to be upgraded"
   
Edcovation withdrew its protest Tuesday, saying that will free the school district to answer questions from the community.
   
Michael Barnes is one of the people asking.
As president of the Okaloosa Citizens Alliance and a member of the African American community leaders alliance, he'd like the

Michael Barnes "I don't think it takes the school district off the hook for explaining it to the public why we got to a point where a protest even was raised"

The school district had no comment on the specifics of the proposals. Their attorney says now that the protest has been withdrawn, the committee's recommendation of L-3 will move forward to the school board.

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