Technology Updates Approved For SSISD: New Laptops For Staff & High School Students

Elementary, Primary and Early Childhood Campuses To Receive New Interactive Touch Panels

Sulphur Springs ISD Board of Trustees this week approved three different technology purchases which will benefit students and staff. New laptops are being ordered for use by Sulphur Springs High School students and school employees, and new interactive touch panels are being ordered for elementary, primary and early childhood campuses.

New Laptops For SSHS

District Technology Coordinator Rodney White reminded the trustees that the school-provided Dell laptops the high school students are using were obtained on a three-year lease agreement which expires at the end of the school year so they are due to go back this year when school’s out.

Rodney White, SSISD technology coordinator

The district went out for bids for a minimum of 1,350 laptops, receiving eight. The lowest bid of $588,154.50 was submitted by CDW-G, and the highest bid of $1,094,850 by Howard Technology Solutions. Additional bids includes $668,250 from CPI, $699,475.50 by Dell, $699,651 by HPI International, $706,644 by Riverside Technologies, $818,100 by Xerox, and $1,048,342.50 by Zones.

White recommended accepting the low bid from CDW-G for 11.6-inch Lenovo laptops. However, at a rate of $435.67 per laptop, but instead of purchasing $1,350 he recommended purchasing $1,425 laptops at a total cost of $620,829.75. This would continue the district’s one-to-one program to put one e-device in every students’ hand for school work.

A new Lenovo 11.6-inch laptop

The laptops would be purchased using Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding awarded to the district instead of leasing them.

SSISD applied in 2021 for its allocation, $7,984,629, of the $11.2 billion appropriated to the State of Texas for public education purposes under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act through the ESSER III Fund.
Funds may be spent for costs incurred March 13, 2020 – Sept. 30, 2024. Technology is among the approved uses for the funding.

Board Vice president Craig Roberts made a motion at the March 7, 2022, SSISD board meeting to approve the purchase of 1,425 Lenovo 11.6-inch laptops at a cost of $436.67 or $620,829.75 total from CDW-G for SSHS student use, with the total to be paid for using ESSER funding. Trustee John Prickette seconded the motion, which was approved on a 6-0, with board member Kerry Wright abstaining from voting.

New Laptops For Teachers, Staff

White also noted that the school laptops in use by teachers, administrators and other professional employees are also on a three-year least agreement that expires in September and will have to go back to Lenovo at that time.

He noted the district received 11 bids from nine different vendors in response to the district’s advertisement for competitive bids for a minimum of 500 new laptops for these district employees; two companies submitted two bids each. The low bid of $374,000 was submitted by Dell and the high bid of $571,000 by Howard Technology Solutions. Additional bids were $500,415 from Zones, $424,210 for Lenovo and $446,260 for Dell laptops from Xerox; $479,200 from HPI International; $403,225 from Troxell Communications, $423,500 from CPI, $376,745 for one type of laptop and $506,095 for another from CDW-G; and $18,500 from Arey Jones Educational Solutions.

A new laptop by Dell

White said the low bid from Dell was for 500 laptops at a rate of $748 per device. The technology coordinator recommended purchasing a total of 525 laptops from Dell, for a total cost of $392,700. ESSER funds, White noted, would be used to purchase the Dell laptops for teachers, administrators and professional employee use.

He noted that this would provide enough laptops to issue new ones to all employees in professional positions from the superintendent on down. He said the technology department take pride in letting district staff know they are using the same type of laptop that Michael Lamb is using.

By approving the purchase in March, the district should be able to get the laptops ordered, in and ready for use when they return for the 2022-2023 school year.

Prickette asked if the payments for any of the technology purchases would overlap. Whites noted that could be a possibility but laptops are being purchased with ESSER funds, not tax dollars. The district cannot afford to wait until the current device leases are up to purchase new ones. The goal is to hand out the new devices in August, set up ready to go.

Trustee Leesa Toliver made the motion approving purchase of 525 laptops from Dell at a rate of $748 per laptop, for a total cost of $392,700. Trustee Robbin Vaughn seconded the motion, which then was approved by trustees on a 6-0, with Wright again abstaining from voting.

Interactive Touch Panels

SSISD also sought bids for 120 new interactive touch panels to replace existing Promethean board at the elementary, primary and early childhood campuses. The majority of existing boards were purchased during the 2009-2010 school year and are starting to reach end of life, White explained.

Five companies bid on the devices. The low bid of $415,932 was submitted by Master AV. The high bid of $515,627.86 was submitted by Xerox Business Solutions. The low bid was for a Galaxy Next G2 panel. White said district staff was not familiar with that type of panel, and were unable to find any other schools in Texas that are using a Galaxy Next G2. Thus, White explained, district staff did not feel comfortable recommending that bid.

Newline interactive touch panel

The next two lowest bids were for New Line panels from CNC at cost of $459,821.77 and Promethean panels from CPI for $460,470. The Newline panel comes with management software for the life of the board. The Promethean panel comes with management software for five years, then would cost $35 per panel per year for a total cost of $4,200 per year.

While the Newline and Promethean panels were both determined following thorough side-by-side comparisons by SSISD instructional technology staff and teachers to be excellent products, the consensus of district staff was that the Newline panel was the best option, White noted. Thus, he recommended the trustees accept the proposal from CNC to provide 120 new Newline interactive panels at a total cost of $459,821.77.

Trustees agreed with the recommendation for CNC to provide the new panels for the EC, primary and elementary campuses on a 5-0 vote, with Board Secretary Jason Dietze and trustee Robbin Vaughn making and seconding the motion. Roberts and Wright abstained from voting.

Author: Faith Huffman

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