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Falls freshmen have two options for laptop fees

Students can pay $10 plus damages or $35 with damages covered

June 26, 2012

Menomonee Falls - Teachers aren't the only ones who have a self-insurance option in the Menomonee Falls School District.

The School Board voted Monday night to offer two different fee options for incoming freshmen as part of the laptop pilot program that will take place during the 2012-2013 school year. Students and parents can choose a minimal fee and pay if damages occur or they can elect to pay a higher fee that would act as insurance and cover the entire cost of damages.

The first option costs $10, which is a maintenance fee students have to pay in order to receive a school district laptop to use for the year. These students would then pay per incident for any damages that may occur.

The second option is a $35 total fee for the school year, which covers accidental damage in full for the entire year.

All fees, said Business Director Jeff Gross, will be placed into a separate fund to be used specifically for repairs and other related unrecoverable charges.

This is the first year for the laptop program. The district is testing the success of the program, including the fees and the devices with the incoming freshman class. The program will be reviewed at the end of the year to gauge its success and determine any necessary changes, including any changes to fees.

"Technology will never replace strong instruction. It's a tool in the workplace, it's a tool for students in their workplace, which happens to be school," Superintendent Patricia Greco said. "It will never replace all the effective strategies for instruction, it's just a new tool and it's a powerful one."

Multiple devices were tested for quality and durability. The device selected is a Lenovo laptop designed specifically for schools and runs a Windows program.

If a device is lost or stolen, the student, parent or legal guardian are financially liable for the laptop, which costs $600.

Before the 2012-2013 school year begins, the details of the program will be explained to parents of incoming freshmen.

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