GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Thousands of Chromebooks are missing from the Greenville County School District.
According to Tim Waller, who is the district’s director of media relations, about 4,600 Chromebooks issued by the district had not been returned as of the beginning of August. Each Chromebook is valued at about $300, according to Waller.
“We have identified where 1,552 of those are…and those were students who had been using them either for summer school or telehealth services and have promised to turn them at the beginning of the new school year,” Waller said. “So the bottom line is right now we have about 3,100 Chromebooks that are absolutely unaccounted for, meaning we haven’t heard from the student or their parent, and we have no idea where they are.”
In cases where the district hasn’t been able to get in touch with families missing a Chromebook, they’re turning to law enforcement, saying they have to file a police report to be able to recoup insurance on the missing devices.
Last year, each Greenville County student in grades 3-12 received a Chromebook. This year, students from preK through 12th grade will be receiving one.
“We want that Chromebook because now as we head into a brand new school year, we’re going to have more Chromebooks in circulation than ever before…nearly 100,000 Chromebooks,” Waller said.
Waller said four or five attempts had been made to reach those families, including visits to the home addresses they have file. But when those are unsuccessful, the district reports the missing Chromebooks, as missing property to law enforcement.
“We’re looking at nearly a million dollars in taxpayer money that has not been recovered,” he said.
He said each year, taxpayers shell about $1.30 to insure the Chromebooks, and to get that insurance money, a missing device must be reported stolen to law enforcement.
He said it’s not too late to return the missing devices to the district or report it missing, which requires financial compensation.
“It’s never too late to turn int he Chromebook,” Waller said. “We just want to get the property back, and we want to turn it over to our service people to work on the Chromebooks, get them up and running, ready for another student to use during the upcoming school year.”
The Pickens County School District is missing 562 Chromebooks, according to a spokesperson John Eby.
“We think that most of those, we’ll be able to track down once we return to school,” Eby said.
He said in Pickens County, families pay $20 a year to insure a Chromebook, but they could still be reported to the police if the device isn’t returned soon.
“We’re a few steps away from filing those police reports, but yes, ultimately we would have to file reports,” Eby said.