View Full Version : Nearly 2,000 technology devices for students are missing

The Bobster
07-20-2017, 11:14 AM

Nearly 2,000 technology devices for students are missing
By Selim Algar
July 19, 2017 | 10:21pm | Updated

The Department of Education has spent millions on fancy technology devices for city students. Now, they just have to find them.

A probe of eight city schools and one administrative office by city Comptroller Scott Stringer revealed that thousands of computers, laptops and tablets worth up to $2,000 apiece are missing.

Despite shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars on tech items in the past two years alone, the DOE can’t keep track of the items after they’re purchased, Stringer said Wednesday.

The audit discovered that 1,816 devices had vanished and another 3,541 others were improperly inventoried.

“The bureaucracy is malfunctioning in mind-boggling ways,” Stringer said of the discrepancies.

He found at least “35 percent of approximately 14,000 machines were not properly accounted for.”

The probe comes just two years after a prior audit by Stringer’s office found similar lapses in city schools.

That investigation said 1,817 devices were missing.

“Our follow-up investigation shows that the situation has only gotten worse,” he said.

Individual school-site administrators are required to keep track of computer inventories, but operate with “little to no accountability from the central office,” he said.

“Nobody in this bureaucracy is cross-checking what’s been purchased and what’s actually showing up in schools,” Stringer said. “We found the same problem two and a half years ago.”

Stringer said DOE officials promised to shore up their practices after the previous investigation, but have failed to do so.

“It’s boilerplate DOE: ‘We’re not going to be transparent,’ ” Stringer said.

“For every computer that goes missing, there’s potentially a kid who doesn’t have access to the technology they need.”

Poor record-keeping invites theft and other abuses, according to the report.

“As this audit once again shows, taxpayer dollars are exposed to waste, fraud or abuse — and it’s coming at our kids’ expense,” Stringer said.

“This has to change.”

A department spokesman said that it was implementing new controls to track tech devices in schools, and that Stringer’s report was not an accurate representation.

“This audit’s findings are fundamentally flawed and unreliable, and we’re committed to improving our inventory system for technology,” said the spokesman, Will Mantell.