Schools launch inquiry into missing computers

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Tuesday morning, students at two Richmond elementary schools should see more than 100 new computers.  These are just some of the computers that sat unused in a warehouse for more than a year.

School Superintendent Yvonne Brandon told NBC12 some of the 200 computers made their way to schools Monday evening.  After a heated exchange at City Hall, an internal investigation into how all this happened is now underway.

Superintendent Brandon, who is now dealing with the fallout after 211 computers that were supposedly distributed to Richmond schools were found in a warehouse, said there's something wrong with the system.

"There is a glitch," she said.  "We recognize that and we are going to fix that glitch."

Almost all of the 211 computers found inside the warehouse were purchased back in March of 2009.  That means right now they're more than a year and a half old. With the changing nature of technology they could become outdated quickly.

Councilman Marty Jewell said with a computer shortage, that's not good enough.

"I'm aware of certain classrooms that got four computers in them and only one works," he explained.

According to Brandon, the administration thought the computers had been installed after a March auditor's report found 500 undelivered units.  Most of them were, but 211 were left behind.  Now, Brandon has figured out why.

78 of the units were supposed to be at the warehouse; they're kept as backups.  Four were purchased for administrative purposes.  11 were supposed to go to Chimborazo Elementary but, Brandon said, the room wasn't ready.  Brandon explained the 118 computers for the newly merged Clark Springs Elementary weren't installed because the facility's needs had to be assessed.

The internal investigation will focus on the process of distributing the computers and if it unveils any negligence Brandon said she will take appropriate disciplinary actions.

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