COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – Like many families, Lisa Morgan’s living room turned into a classroom for her three children last year. Her family opted for full distance learning, and Morgan bought them all the new laptops to help them connect to their classes.
“We thought it would be a good investment, they could use them for years to come,” she said.
The purchase of all the devices cost around $ 2,000 and Morgan knows of other families who have done the same.
“I know a lot of people bought personal computers last year because the district encouraged them, you know if you could help in that way,” she said. “It wasn’t until later in the year that others became available and they were like, hey now they’re available, but that’s when we were good in the year.”
Academy School District 20 administrators emailed parents on Wednesday informing them that they will be providing every student in Grades 3 through 12 with a district-owned device for this upcoming school year.
The school board voted in April to spend $ 4 million in COVID relief funds to purchase the devices. Parents must pay an assistance fee of $ 50 per student in the event of loss, theft or damage to devices.
“It’s very frustrating as a parent to receive this email and to receive this request to pay for this,” Morgan said. “It’s like there was no communication about it, there was no discussion about it, that’s how it is.”
Under district policy, parents can still send their children to school with personal devices, but the assistance fee is still due.
The district warns that devices in the house may have difficulty connecting to the district network. Students will not be able to use home devices for state and district assessments or connect to school printers.
Families eligible for the federal free or reduced meal program do not have to pay the fees. Those who do not qualify can still work with their director and the district administration office to request a hardship waiver.