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To All:
I recently asked for suggestions on how to handle student checkout of
expensive laptop computers .  Here is a list of the responses I received.

1. We have laptops for student checkout.  We have a form they and their
parents sign before they can take them.  It says they will be responsible for
any damage,etc.  We only let them out after school and they have to be
returned before school the next day.  We charge 1.00 per hour overdues. We do
check the computers each morning.

2. We don't have laptops to checkout, but we do check out for an extended
amount of time (marking period) our older PCs and Apples.  The parents sign a
contract promising to replace any damaged equipment.  There are a number of
stores locally that carry all sorts of used equipment.  They can either give
us the money or go buy an equivalent machine.  That has only happened once.
 And it must be "damage" - ie. if it just dies of old age (and they are
geriatric cases) we do not hold them responsible.  All of our Apple software
is backed up, so they never check out the original.  The PCs all have hard
drives which are backed up on Zips, so if the drive gets messed up, we just
erase it and start over.  The plan I had for the laptops was similar in that
I would have everything backed up on Zip.  I would want a credit card number,
driver's lic., etc. on the laptop loan.  We do hold student records and
placement for other unpaid bills, but I'd want a little better plan for
something that expensive.

3. We have had laptop computers that we check out to students for the past
several years.  We have a form that we have the students and their parents
 sign that states they will be responsible for any damage to the laptop, the
 approximate cost of the equipment, and that they will not violate copyright.
 So far we have had no problems.  Our students and staff seems to appreciate
the service.

4. I have long been an advocate of lending equipment to students.  In the
past, I have had them sign a statement accepting responsibility and
acknowledging the cost. With lap tops I might add two more wrinkles.  I would
definitely have the parents signoff also and I would consider requesting a
credit card number that damages could be assigned to. I would not worry too
much about equity of access unitil I knew for certain that demand would
exceed supply.  At that point I would create a reservation system.

5. We have five laptop computers in each of our media centers (middle and
high) for staff and student checkout.  Next year we hope to have five more at
each building.  Our students, as well as their parents, have to sign a
district technology code of ethics statement in order to use any technology
in our buildings. For the use of the laptops I designed an additional form
and sheet for students and their parents to
sign.  Staff need only check out the equipment and return it in a timely
manner as they do with all media center items.  Students can take the laptops
out of the media center and home overnight during the week.  They are not
allowed to take them home on the weekends.  So far there have been no
problems and all are happy.

Thanks to those of you who shared this information.
James M. Bowen
Library Media Coordinator
Green Bay Area Public Schools
200 S. Broadway
Green Bay, WI 54303
Phone: (414) 448-2030
Fax: (414) 448-2115

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