The West Central School Board members held a lengthy discussion last week on how to incorporate Chromebook fees into textbook fees in an upcoming school year.
Superintendent Dan Zylstra said administrators are reviewing the fees at the Middle/High School to make sure that the school is charging are for the materials and supplies that the school is using.
“Do we charge for Chromebooks as part of our textbook rental fees and then when those students in high school pay $50 or $60 a year and then at the end of their high school career they would keep those Chromebooks? It would raise the textbook rental fee, but then the advantage to that would be that they would have ownership of those devices in a way they don’t now,” stated Zylstra.
The current fee is $15 which goes into a fund to pay for damage repairs to the Chromebooks.
School Board member Mandy Sharpe thought that an increased fee would create a burden on families, especially with those who have more than one enrolled child. There was also a question of how many of those fees would go unpaid because of the increased costs.
There were also concerns about if students leave the school corporation in the middle of the “rent-to-own” process, how it would work with students who are on free and reduced lunch and the payment process, how long the operating system would continue to be functional on the devices after four years, and what fee would be fair so the school doesn’t have to subsidize costs of the devices.
More research will be done before the school board members come to a decision on the matter.