As of the end of February, all AAPS computers are out of warranty. This means the district is facing rising repair costs and shrinking inventory, said John VanRiper, director of information technology.
With a district that uses more than 8,000 computers, repairs are not uncommon. The most typical repairs are needed for failed logic boards and hard drives or just the wear and tear of everyday drops and spills.
But once a computer’s two- or three-year warranty expires, the district pays for repairs on its own.
“Once we get out of warranty, I don’t approve repairs over $400,” VanRiper said. The district keeps a storage set of laptops to replace the ones that are removed, but those extras will run out within a year.
The IT Department tries to salvage equipment whenever possible. When a broken computer is deemed too costly to repair, the IT Department strips it for parts, almost as if it were a car. “If the hard drive is dead but the screen is fine? We’ll keep the screen,” VanRiper said. A cracked screen can cost as much as $800, which is a cost VanRiper wouldn’t approve for an out-of-warranty item.
Old computers that are half-functioning or ultimately removed cause plenty of headaches for teachers and students. In an anonymous survey, staff shared their concerns.
“Some of our computers have been in the room for six years now and are too outdated to run software or access all websites,” wrote an elementary teacher. “Same is true for the computer lab. It’s almost unusable because it’s so old. The laptops are newer, and we would use laptops more often if there were more of them available to check out.”
VanRiper sums it up this way: “Rising costs and depleting resources: it’s a bad situation.”
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