Camden Hills takes steps to lower laptop repair costs after receiving $56,000 bill

Posted Nov. 15, 2011, at 6:09 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 16, 2011, at 5:12 a.m.

ROCKPORT, Maine — After getting sucker punched with a $56,000 bill for student laptop repairs this year, Camden Hills Regional High School’s principal has begun implementing new policies.

For one thing, the school will take the students’ school-issued computers back during winter break. This will allow the school to check for damages, principal Nick Ithomitis told the school board at its November meeting. The school also will begin to keep a database of damages.

Additionally, students who break their computers won’t be given a new one right away. Instead, they will have to wait until their own computer is fixed and paid for.

The $56,000 repair bill was about 10 times larger than that of the nearby high school in Rockland. Camden Hills Regional High attributed its higher costs to student carelessness.

To remind students to treat their computers with care, the school has begun sending weekly pop-up reminders to the students’ laptops with tips about how to treat a computer. The school also is making a video about proper care for computers. Students also are being reminded to use their protective computer cases to carry their laptops.

Camden Hills Regional High School is one of 69 high schools statewide that participate in a Maine Learning Technology Initiative program operated under the Maine Department of Education that makes laptops available to students. Camden Hills spends about $150,000 to lease 778 laptop computers each year from the state.

When local officials were made aware of the $56,000 repair bill, they said a bill that high could jeopardize the future of the program at the school.

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