It’s something many people may not think of as a big expense, but for the Georgetown County School District the cost of copy machines and printers — and all that is needed to keep them operational — is a seven-figure dent in the budget.
In an effort to reduce those costs, district staff are hoping the school board will agree to enter into a five-year partnership with Sharp Business Systems which would supply all the copiers, printers and accessories for every school, classroom and office.
More than $500,000
Lisa Ackerman, the school district’s director of procurement, told the school board when everything is added together — the cost of printers and copy machines for the entire district, the cost of toner and maintenance of all the machines, and the cost of all the printing that takes place — the district spends more than $500,000 annually on printing.
The agreement with Sharp the board is considering will cost the district $950,000 over a five-year period.
Ackerman estimates the district will save $1.17 million in that five years.
She said a request for pricing was issued and seven different vendors responded. A team was assembled to review the packages and the deal offered by Sharp seemed to be the best.
During the process, employees from Sharp discovered the district currently has 216 different models of printers in offices and classrooms. Most are inkjet.
This is a problem because the cost-per-page when printing on an inkjet printer is much higher and the state no longer helps by finding contracts for inkjet cartridges.
Ackerman said when the inkjet printers no longer work, most are thrown away rather than sent to be repaired.
If the Sharp contract is approved, there will be a uniform model of printers district-wide that will have the capability of 30 prints per minute. That, Ackerman said, will save teachers a lot of time.
Currently, there is a limit on the number of copies a teacher can make but if the contract is approved, that restriction will be lifted.
The new printers will be equipped with a tracking device that will allow principals to monitor the number of copies being made. This will safeguard against any abuse of the system.
The board is expected to consider the proposal during the upcoming budget process.
By Scott Harper
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