APS reports that 2% of Chromebooks are missing

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – As children return to school, Albuquerque Public Schools is trying to recover devices given to students during the pandemic. “Now that we’re back in face-to-face school, we can get a better idea of ​​our inventory for Chromebooks and iPads,” said Shellmarie Harris, executive director of educational technology for APS.

The district said about 2% of Chromebooks were missing. That amounts to just under a thousand missing Chromebooks and a loss of around $450,000.

“We’ve had families logged in APS police reports for auditing purposes only, just so we know we can remove them from our inventory and they don’t sit there forever in our inventory,” said said Harris. The district said the loss was expected given how quickly the devices had to be distributed in 2020.

“That’s when we thought COVID could live on a surface for up to seven days. We were giving them out pretty much and so it was problematic getting them back,” said Scott Elder, superintendent of the ‘APS. “Right now our loss is reasonable. It’s only around 2%. It’s probably going to increase and it’s probably something we could have expected from the way we’ve been forced to make business at that time.

The district said pawnbrokers are great partners for letting them know when an APS device has been dropped off. Harris said several hundred have been found in pawnshops over the past three years. But, the devices only work with APS credentials.

“Once you leave APS, this Chromebook is worthless. You can only activate it if you enter it through our system. If you are not part of our system, it is only a blockage”, Elder said.

Since then, APS has tightened up its system, burning and scanning devices. She also hired a new inventory control manager. He works with the families to recover the devices.

“We really look at that first time and say, ‘Oops you know, that’s how you take care of your Chromebook,’ or, ‘What’s a lesson learned that we can do?’ After that, we look at the amortized costs of awarding a royalty,” Harris said. The fee depends on the damage to the Chromebook.

APS also traded in about 22,000 Chromebooks this year that will be updated to the latest operating system. Harris said this will help ensure the district doesn’t become the target of a hack or another ransomware attack like earlier this year.

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