School district’s coverage begins April 1
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville School Board approved purchasing damage insurance for the Chromebooks used by students in grades 7-12.
At its March 14 meeting, the board was told by Jeff See, assistant principal at Clintonville Middle School, the district has paid out a little more than $18,000 in Chromebook repairs from its technology budget.
He said $5,000 was budgeted in the repair budget, and that was to cover more than just Chromebook repairs.
Clintonville School District Superintendent Tom O’Toole told the board when the district began providing a Chromebook for all students in grades 7-12 the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, the policy was if a student broke a Chromebook, the student was responsible to cover the repair costs. Students do take the Chromebooks home with them.
“We’ve been having all of these charges and we have not been receiving all of the pay back for the damage,” O’Toole said. “That’s why the budget’s gone.”
He added that the district has a lot of outstanding repair bills with families in the district.
Lynette Edwards, business manager for the district, said the district sent out overdue fee notices in February. The total of the overdue fees was more than $100,000. It was noted not all of those fees are for Chromebook damage.
O’Toole told the board the district hasn’t collected all of the Chromebook repair fees from the 2014-15 school year.
“Slowly but surely our families are falling further and further behind,” O’Toole said.
He said the first thing the district needs to do is decide if it will stand behind the overdue fees owed to the district.
“Those are outstanding bills that some have paid, and some have not [paid],” he said. “Everyone went in with the understanding that they would be paid.”
School Board President Ben Huber said he has received calls from parents who said they were unaware they owed money for Chromebook repairs, and the bill just shows up.
He said including some sort of deductible fee is a good idea.
“To continue as is I’m afraid we’re doing a disservice to our families,” O’Toole said.
See also showed the board examples of damaged Chromebooks and shared the costs to repair them.
He said some of the damage is intentional by students.
Clintonville High School Principal Lance Bagstad cited an example of a student who couldn’t log into the system and the student admitted to throwing the Chromebook on the concrete and stomping on it.
See also explained to the board why students can’t use their own Chromebooks or other devices.
School administration provided the board with three options.
The first option was for the district to continue with the policy it currently has. If a student damages a Chromebook they are responsible for the repair costs.
The second option called for the district to contract with Technology Resource Advisors, Inc. (TRA) of Milwaukee to begin covering the 625 Samsung Chromebooks that students take home with them on April 1 of this year through May 31, 2017. In addition, the 165 HP Chromebooks that students take home with them would be covered from April 1 to May 31, 2018. Beginning with April 1, the district would implement a new deductible fee schedule required by TRA.
The deductible for the first incident would be $30, followed by $60 for the second incident, $100 for the third incident and replacement cost (currently $249) for the fourth incident.
The third option was the same as the second option except all previous charges would be reduced in accordance with a new deductible fee schedule.
The third option would mean some families wouldn’t owe as much as they were billed, while families who had already paid their Chromebook damage invoices would receive a refund from the district.
O’Toole told the board that school administration couldn’t come to a consensus as to which option to recommend.
See recommended the third option, while O’Toole and Edwards recommended the second option.
The board approved the second option by a vote of 5-1-1. Board member Jim Dins voted no. Huber abstained.