WARREN, NJ - The Warren Township Board of Education discussed the 1:1 Chromebook initiative at the meeting held this week.
Chromebooks were introduced to every Warren Middle School sixth grader in January. Superintendent Dr. Tami Crader said the board bought approximately 50 extra Chromebooks in case of breakage, but did not budget for repairs.
In the five months since the Chromebooks were introduced, repairs have been needed to replace four damaged screens, at about $40 per screen, Crader said.
Beginning in September for the 2014-2015 school year, Chromebooks will be given to the incoming fifth graders as well.
As the number of students receiving Chromebooks increases, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in damage to the devices.
The board discussed possible strategies to alleviate the damage expenses.
One idea Crader proposed was asking parents for a nominal insurance payment. She said, "What we’re proposing is we ask parents to give us $15 to establish a pool of money, which we draw from for repairs."
The board agreed that they would have to do more research on the amount of damages and repair costs before coming up with the final number.
Board President Mildred Spiller said she believed parents would welcome the opportunity to pay a small fee upfront. “I think many parents would appreciate paying 10 to 15 bucks instead of a full repair,” said Spiller.
Board member Gregory Steier said he would like to gather more information first. “I would feel better that, before we go to parents to ask them for additional money, (we look to see if) we are seeing abnormally high rates that would require it,” said Steier.
Another option discussed involved parents paying the complete cost of damages based on the breakage of their own student.
“(They) could sign a waiver that says if it’s damaged you have to pay for it, not unlike if a textbook is damaged you have to pay for it,” said Business Administrator Patricia Leonhardt.
“Something that is school property that is damaged, we are entitled to that reimbursement. We are not entitled to compel them to give us money up front, but we can ask them,” said Crader.
The issue will be discussed further at the next meeting. Crader said, “We will look for a range, we will look for the various options, we will put out a memo, and send it out for the next meeting."