Kristi's Kids

Jul 24, 2013 1:00 AM by Kristi Tedesco

Losing track of equipment costs Tucson schools

TUCSON - Keeping our schools properly supplied is a huge challenge and when things go missing that just adds to the problem.

Kristi's Kids wanted to know, how much do schools spend on replacing lost or stolen items?

What products are stolen most often and what are districts doing to prevent theft and protect the taxpayer?

Kristi's Kids collected the data from several districts for the past two years. We found hundreds of items missing: cameras, projectors, a golf cart and hundreds of laptops.

Todd Jaeger with Amphitheater Public Schools explains the procedure. Every year they audit valuable property at 23 locations.

"In course of a school year, stuff gets moved around," Jaeger explains. "Identifying what is not where we last saw it, and then trying to track it down."

The most recent audit shows 21 items missing from Canyon del Oro High school including janitorial equipment, a saxophone, an ice maker, cameras, projectors and other items with a total value of $36,851

"The problem with C.D.O. is we just, during this time period, we just concluded construction," says Jaeger.

He tells us many of the items were probably moved because of that construction and when staff returns to school most of these things will be located.

Insurance will pay for some items but the district has a $1,000 dollar deductible per incident.

At Sunnyside every student is provided a laptop via the One-To-One program.

"Four years ago we only had 1400 devices. Next year we'll have 10,000," says Javier Baca, Executive Director of Information Technology at Sunnyside.

From that inventory we found hundreds of computers missing.

In 2011/12 they reported 116 missing devices. Of those 41 were eventually recovered.

Last school year 326 went missing while 90 were recovered. Baca tells us the increase of missing devices correlates as the district adds more laptops.

The district has a plan to prevent theft.

"We have a very well prescribed set of procedures that our teachers and students are expected to follow when their laptop goes missing," says Baca. "They notify the appropriate personal."

Sunnyside subscribes to a service called Computrace. For about $60, each computer is loaded with tracking software. That is how they recovered most of the missing ones devices.

"Some cases it's in a pawnshop. Some cases at a personal residence. We actually recovered some from Mexico as well."

There is also added insurance through Computrace which reimburses the district for the computers they can't find.

"In most cases, 99% of them, the Computrace process is what resolves our loss."

What isn't resolved by Computrace is covered by the district's insurance minus the deductable. Forty devices were missing which were valued at less than the detectable costing the district about $23,000.

And starting this year Sunnyside laptops will be etched with the district logo. They tell us it's an additional deterrent.

Kristi's Kids also requested inventory reports from TUSD which we are still waiting for. And we will update the information at C.D.O. after staff returns to school.

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