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$25 iPad fee covers accidental damages

Why is the Eagle Point School District charging students for the iPads?

— Carol E., Medford

Carol, the mandatory technology fee is Eagle Point School District’s way of asking students and parents to put some skin in the game.

The school district purchased 1,000 iPads over the past five years and, this year, decided to lease an additional 3,100 iPads from Apple for an annual cost of $492,000. 

Students are required to pay a $25 tech fee and are given the option of buying a $5 iPad cover (worth $30) from the district or providing their own.

“The tech fee is kind of insurance for the parent so that if the device is dropped, broken or damaged in some way on accident then the school will repair or replace it at our cost,” said David Whitehead, the district’s information technology supervisor.

The first time a student accidentally breaks or damages the iPad, it’s covered. However, if it happens again, the parents will have to pay another $30, and if there’s a third incident, $60.

“Anything determined to be malicious is not covered, and the school will be contacting the parent to determine who is responsible for whatever happened and to determine damages and who’s going to pay,” Whitehead said.

Discounts of up to 50 percent are available for low-income families based on their free or reduced-price lunch status. The fee is waived for foster children, and families with more than one child in the district can appeal to their kids’ principals for a discount, Whitehead said.

The tech fees, he added, go into a fund that is used to cover the cost of repairs.

The iPads that the high school students will receive are valued at $579, while the younger students will receive iPads with less capacity that are valued at $379.

“Even if the tech fee was a charge for an iPad, that’s a pretty good price,” Whitehead said. “I mean $30 for a $579 iPad — not bad.”

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