Jan 16, 2020 11:55 AM

Hays USD 489 looks toward 2020 computer replacement

Posted Jan 16, 2020 11:55 AM

Hays Post

The Hays school district is gearing up for its next round of technology purchases.

The district created a rotation schedule for replacing student and staff devices after it went to its one-to-one technology policy in the 2015-2016 school years.

The Hays school board heard a report from technology director Scott Summers during its meeting Monday.

The district is scheduled to replace devices for the third through fifth graders and high school staff in the 2020-21 school year. This fall, students at Hays Middle School received new iPads. Elementary school students are also using iPads.

The district is trying to rotate out devices every four years for students and every five years for staff. The district was having issues with the Surfaces being used at the HHS and those were replaced last school year after three years.

The replacement schedule was created to spread the cost of device replacement over multiple years and make it easier for the school board to budget.

The district has a technology committee that reviews what devices that are needed to meet the needs of students and staff.

Summer said he plans to bring that committee together later this month.

The district hopes to delay replacement of the devices for K-2 students until 2021-22, but Summers said six years on those devices may be a stretch. The district has been saving back some of the devices scheduled to be sold in replacement for the upper grades to be used as backups for the younger students.

The district sold the rest of the used HMS iPads to a technology recycling company. It received about $4o per iPad for a total of $12,000.

Summers said the district will use that money to upgrade computers in school libraries and for the custodial staff.

The technology department along with buildings and grounds will also likely come back to the board this spring with a proposal to replace phones at the high school.

The district paid for new phone lines to be installed when Nex-Tech was pulling cable for a repair to the school's clock system this summer. Although the office can page individual classrooms, the existing system does not allow classrooms to page back to the office.

Although personal devices such as cellphones and Smart watches are not banned from classrooms, Summer said the district is blocking wifi access for some devices. If too many devices are on the classroom wifi, it can cause problems with internet and can hamper the teacher's ability to teach.

The district technology department with its five staff members maintains about 4,000 devices in the district.

The technology department uses a ticket system to handle tech issues across the district. Last year, the team handled 1,900 tickets. So far this year, the department has already received 1,700 tickets. 

Summers said his department is urging staff to use the ticket system instead of communicating issues by other means. Some of the requests are also being automated.