State Board delays vote on new $1.2 million Istation contract, expressing concerns over “significantly escalated cost”

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At today’s conference call meeting, the North Carolina State Board of Education delayed action on the Department of Public Instruction’s request that it approve nearly $1.2 million to extend Istation’s contract to provide the state’s K-3 reading assessment from the beginning of April through the end of July.

Board member JB Buxton expressed concerns that the four-month contract represented a “significantly escalated cost” over the 3 year, $8.3 million cost the board originally approved:

“If we annualize the monthly fee here, we’re talking about a $10.8 roughly million dollar contract over 3 years, which is I think about $2.5 million higher than what we voted on…”

Buxton noted that concerns with the tool had been raised in the field which needed to be addressed. He added that the board needed to protect taxpayers, especially considering the looming economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

DPI’s request for $1.2 million comes while the Department of Information Technology is still weighing a decision on whether Istation’s original three-year contract award was legal.

Istation’s current contract ran from January through March 31 at a cost of $928,570.

You can hear Buxton’s comments below:

Here are the details on the proposed contract:

Istation-Intent-to-Contract-03.16.20

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