An annual report from the Inspector General of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) revealed that millions of dollars worth of tech devices were reported lost or stolen “without appropriate search and recovery efforts.”
The fiscal year 2023 annual report released Tuesday states CPS schools reported 77,505 tech devices as lost or stolen during the 2021-22 school year, totaling well over $23 million in original purchase price.
The discovery, as a result of the district’s first post-COVID-19 inventory, calls the numbers “unacceptably high” and says the oversight process is in need of a “serious overhaul.”
The report said the missing items included laptops, iPads, Wi-Fi hotspots, printers, document cameras and interactive whiteboards.
“At three dozen schools, 100 percent of tech devices assigned specifically to students were marked lost or stolen, inventory data showed,” the district report states.
During the same school year, CPS shelled out upwards of $124 million on “technology assets,” which the report said was the most in the last five school years.
“In a District of our size, some device loss is expected, but we remain concerned about the loss of any public asset,” CPS said in a statement to Fox News. “Our CPS team will work to streamline our system for tracking resources, including devices, while enforcing compliance with Board policy.”
The district statement added that they are working to change the process, enhance systems and hold school leaders accountable to the asset management policy.
“In a district where more than 72 percent of students are from economically disadvantaged families, it is crucial that we are sensitive to our families as we conduct any device recovery efforts,” the statement read.
CPS added that due to depreciation, the devices the OIG report was referring to are likely currently valued at $2.5 million, the majority of them were “well over five years old,” and as of Monday, more than 12,000 of the 77,000 devices cited had been recovered.
“It’s just wasteful (and) that’s what our office is here to address and that’s what we do,” CPS Inspector General Will Fletcher told WGN-TV. “Our work uncovered an incident where there were a pair of siblings, a brother and sister at school who between them lost 9-10 devices, (and) there’s no record or indication that the district reached out to the family mentioned this was an issue try to figure out what happened.”