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RPS audit reveals more than 1,800 Chromebooks missing

The school board is adopting changes in the wake of the audit
Auditors say it does not appear the district has a formal process to monitor device collection when a student leaves.
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 3:12 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Public School leaders dealing with a Chromebook conundrum.

“We have thousands of devices that candidly we just don’t know where they’re located,” said Jonathan Young, Richmond School Board.

At the start of the pandemic, when all schools went virtual, RPS wasn’t equipped with enough laptops for its 22,000 students to use at home. Overall, the division spent about $12.6 million to fix the issue.

Currently, RPS should have almost 37,000 Chromebooks. However, more than 1,800 Chromebooks are unaccounted for because they are currently assigned to former or inactive students.

“In the interim, we are contacting all those families and requesting that they return their devices. Students that are still in the district to retrieve those devices that were provided multiple,” said Young.

Auditors say it does not appear the district has a formal process to monitor device collection when a student leaves.

“We are a district that is 75% free and reduced lunch, 40% of our kids live below the poverty line, are we really upset that a handful of children now have a laptop that they didn’t have before? I just think we are missing the entire picture here,” said Liz Doerr, Richmond School Board.

The school board is adopting changes in the wake of the audit. The division will directly assign devices to students, instead of individual schools. They’re also working to streamline data management tracking programs.

“I think we need to continue to ask questions and get to the bottom of this,” said Doerr.

According to the report, 20,000 Chromebooks are unassigned. RPS says those are needed for other programs, replacements and repairs.

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