Half of Beaufort County School District’s missing laptops and iPads came from this school – Island Packet
Half of the Beaufort County School District’s unreturned technology devices — 51 of the 102 student devices at the end of the 2016-17 school year came from Beaufort High School, according to a district Facebook post published Friday night.
It’s unclear why Beaufort High School has more than four times the number of unreturned devices than the school with the second highest number.
Other schools’ numbers include:
▪ Bluffton High School: 12
▪ Whale Branch Early College High School: 8
▪ Whale Branch Middle School: 7
▪ Battery Creek High School: 7
▪ May River High School: 6
▪ Lady’s Island Middle School: 3
▪ H. E. McCracken Middle School: 3
▪ Beaufort Middle School: 2
▪ Hilton Head Island High School: 1
▪ River Ridge Academy Raider Nation: 1
▪ Robert Smalls International Academy: 1
“We’re not certain why Beaufort High’s numbers were higher, but the new principal will review the school’s computer return procedures and she’s confident that she can improve them,” district spokesman Jim Foster wrote in an email Saturday.
High school seniors must settle their financial accounts with the district before graduating, the post said, so all unreturned devices were those assigned to underclassmen.
The district’s Facebook post came two days after The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette reported on a police report filed by the district. The report stated 52 Beaufort High School students did not return $40,508 in missing property, though district information technology officials reported 51 unreturned devices at Beaufort High School, Foster said Saturday.
Typically, 75 percent of devices are returned over the summer after the district sends letters to parents. In the fall, insurance will cover the cost of replacing the devices that can’t be accounted for, Foster said Wednesday. The police report was filed for insurance purposes, he said.
The district also used the Facebook post to further explain its policy for reporting lost and stolen laptops.
If a student loses a device, he or she must report it to his or her school. If a device is unreported and unreturned, the student must reimburse the district $399 for an iPad and $599 for a laptop.
A police report is also filed if the student suspects it was stolen, the post said. The district contracts with Computrace, which uses software to locate the missing devices. If Computrace cannot locate a stolen laptop, the company reimburses the district. If a student loses the laptop and Computrace cannot locate it, the student must reimburse the district.
Computrace tracks only Windows-based laptops for the district, so iPads are handled differently. The district can remotely and permanently disable missing iPads, which are for kindergarten through fifth-grade students.
Several years ago, police charged three individuals with stealing about 30 devices from Lady’s Island Middle School, Foster wrote in an email. They were not students.
“Beyond that, I’m not aware of anyone else being charged,” he wrote. “As the numbers show, the devices usually are located, and it’s ultimately determined that they’ve been misplaced rather than stolen. Law enforcement would have to determine whether an actual crime has been committed.”
An open-records request sent Friday to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office for this information has not yet been fulfilled. The agency has 10 business days to respond.
In the 2017 fiscal year, the district spent $3.26 million to purchase 5,500 HP student laptops. In the 2016 fiscal year, the district spent $1.17 million to purchase 4,628 student iPads.
Student devices are purchased on three-year replacement cycles and students pay an annual $20 technology fee that includes insurance to repair or replace devices accidentally damaged during the school year.
How many devices have students reported lost or stolen?
2016-17 School Year
▪ 79 laptops were reported lost or stolen. Of those, Computrace found 46, is still looking for seven and reimbursed district for 12. Students paid for 14.
▪ District did not include lost or stolen iPad numbers in its Facebook post
2015-16 School Year
▪ 146 student laptops were reported lost or stolen. Of those, Computrace found 113, is still looking for 23 and reimbursed district for four. Students paid for six.
▪ 2 iPads reported as lost or stolen