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Districts Look to Insure Tech Devices, Ask Families to Help With Costs

As the use of mobile technology continues to grow in districts, an increasing number of school systems are arranging to insure those devices to protect against students losing or damaging them.

And some districts are expecting families to chip in to help with those insurance costs.

The interest among school districts in protecting themselves on their tech investments is highlighted in a recent story in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which focuses largely on a recent insurance policy created by the Farmington, Minn., school district.

Farmington expects to spend about $3 million over the next four years on providing students with iPads. In November, its school board approved a policy that includes an insurance agreement and outlines how the devices should and should not be used by students, including rules on apps that should be downloaded, and home Internet use.

For $28 a year, parents in the Farmington district can buy an insurance policy to cover iPads against damage, with a maximum of two devices per household eligible for coverage, the story says. If families don't pay that fee, they have to cover the cost of the device if it's damaged.

School districts' imposition of various fees and costs for everything from services and programs to participation in sports is a continuous source of controversy across K-12—and an occasional source of litigation. One of the obvious worries is that those added expenses will limit families' access to services and programs, particularly if those families are impoverished. Those concerns have apparently been taken under advisement in Farmington: The district is paying about $50,000 to insure the iPads for impoverished students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, according to the Pioneer Press.

A lot of school systems agree with the Minnesota district's reasoning on the need to insure technology. One Oklahoma-based company, which insures personal technology such as smartphones and tablets, already has more than 1,000 clients in the education field, the newspaper reports.

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