Arizona officials are investigating whether a Tucson school district received inappropriate perks after awarding a lucrative contract to a company that makes high-tech classroom whiteboards.
Investigators are looking into an educational summit and conference the Alpharetta, Ga.-based Promethean Inc. held in Tucson that included free stays at a high-end resort for five Tucson Unified School District employees.
After buying some whiteboards from a different company, the district chose Promethean to provide another 365 boards. Combined with subsequent buys, the district has purchased more than 1,100 whiteboards from Promethean at roughly $1,700 apiece—a total cost of nearly $1.9 million.
District officials, who said they received no special treatment, say the purchases aren’t connected to a district request to host a national “summit” in Tucson that was later granted by Promethean. In April, the company invited school leaders to the summit and hosted a conference to train teachers on the boards’ uses.
Promethean did not return a call for comment.
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
A version of this article appeared in the September 24, 2008 edition of Education Week