The Hays USD 489 school board voted against approving a $52,221 bid for leasing photocopiers at its Monday night meeting after discussing for more than half an hour the need for 25 copiers in the district, but a question near the end of the discussion raised concerns about the actual costs.

The district’s lease with Tri-Central Office Supply on its 23 photocopiers as well as a lease for a large-production Xerox in the Copy Center at the Rockwell Administration Center end June 30. The lease on a Ricoh large-production copier in the Copy Center ended last year. The cost of all 25 machines is $65,216 annually, according to information in the agenda for Monday’s meeting.

The district sought to replace all the machines under one lease.

Sumner One, a St. Louis-based company with offices in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois was the low bid, coming in at nearly $13,000 less than the current expense. The company has office space in Nex-Tech’s building at 2418 Vine and provides copiers and service to Fort Hays State University.

The proposed contract would allow for a 10-percent reduction in the number of copiers over the five-year lease, said Tracy Kaiser, executive director of finance and support services. She and Assistant Superintendent Shanna Dinkel spoke of software and card readers that would allow for more detailed tracking of what is copied or printed, where and by whom.

But a little more than 40 minutes into the discussion, board member Sophia Young asked for a clarification if the board was bidding on Sumner One’s second option that includes the card readers.

After some confusion, it was determined the option Young was asking about — listed on the final page of Sumner One’s bid for Papercut software and up to 500 users for the card readers at a purchase price of $13,700 and a five-year lease cost of $265 — was not included in the $52,221 bid.

Kaiser said because the district had a license for the Papercut software in the past, the district might be able to get a lower price.

“I’m probably a no vote either way,” board member Greg Schwartz said. “I thought that number was included in there.”

“Honestly, I would like to approve it with the card readers,” Young said.

A motion to approve the bid already was on the table, and when Board President Lance Bickle called for a vote, Young and Mike Walker voted for the bid. Bickle, Schwartz, Luke Oborny and Mandy Fox voted against. Board member Paul Adams was absent.

After the vote, Oborny clarified his position on the bid

“I would definitely support the proposal, I just want to know what the actual dollar amounts are,” he said.

A special meeting in June might be needed to consider the bid again, as the board will not meet until June 25. The current contracts will expire at the end of June, and all the copiers will be removed.

In earlier discussion on the bid, Schwartz questioned why so many copiers are needed, especially with the one-to-one initiative providing students with tablets or laptops.

“When we went one-to-one at the high school the sale of it was we’re going to reduce paper,” he said.

“The number of copies at 5,100,000 is right in the neighborhood of where we were in 2004,” he said.

Schwartz said he did some figuring, and that comes out to 1,600 copies per student per year, or just more than 9 pages a day per student during the school year.

Schwartz suggested instead materials could be printed to PDF and shared with students.

“This is one of those areas that we could save money that we could use somewhere else, whether it’s another staff person or moving things around,” Schwartz said.

But Schwartz’s comments seemed to contradict what he suggested in the April 30 meeting when the board discussed a $335,750 purchase of 850 Dell Latitude tablets for high school students.

In part of that discussion, Schwartz questioned the need for tablets with front- and back-facing cameras. Technology Director Scott Summers explained the Dells did have that feature, but also supported handwriting on the screen with a stylus.

“And what do we need that for? What class?” Schwartz asked.

Hays High School business teacher Suzanne Stark said in all of her classes, students used the app OneNote for classroom materials.

“All of my classes, instead of using paper, using vast quantities of paper, every worksheet that I do, my students use the stylus and they write on their computer screen, and that’s how they submit their work to me,” she said.

“And I understand that’s probably handy,” Schwartz said. “But it’s very expensive. Paper’s cheap. I know it’s wasteful. I know there’s environmental uses that go along with it, but it’s very cheap versus computer.”

The board approved that purchase, but Schwartz voted against it.