Chicago Public Schools Lose Millions of Dollars in Missing Devices as Budget Deficit Looms

Chicago Public Schools Lose Millions of Dollars in Missing Devices as Budget Deficit Looms

A new report from the CPS Inspector General reveals that Chicago Public Schools lost over $20 million worth of computers and electronic devices in a single school year, raising concerns about taxpayer funds being used for replacements.

As the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) grapple with a looming budget deficit, a recent report from the CPS Inspector General has shed light on a significant financial loss. The report reveals that the district lost more than $20 million worth of computers and electronic devices in a single school year. This comes at a time when the district is already facing financial challenges and raises concerns about the use of taxpayer dollars to replace the missing devices. The report also highlights issues with the tracking system in place and the lack of consequences for students and staff who fail to return the devices.

Widespread Losses and Absence of Consequences

According to the CPS Inspector General’s report, over 77,000 laptops and electronic devices were not returned by students within a year, resulting in a loss of more than $20 million. Despite the district spending millions on tracking these devices, there were no consequences for students or staff who failed to return them. The report reveals that schools marked the devices as “lost” when they were assigned to students or staff and never returned, further exacerbating the issue.

Concerns Over Tracking System and Accountability

The report also highlights concerns regarding the district’s tracking system for technology. The CPS spent approximately $2.5 million on software designed to track and locate devices, but the district was not utilizing this software effectively. This lack of utilization raises questions about the district’s ability to monitor and recover lost devices. Additionally, the report found that 27% of tech assets were marked as lost or stolen district-wide during the 2022-2023 school year, indicating a significant problem with accountability.

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Implications for Budget Shortfall and Transparency

The loss of millions of dollars’ worth of devices comes at a critical time for CPS, as the district is preparing for a budget shortfall with the end of federal aid and pandemic funds in 2025. The report’s findings raise concerns about the district’s financial management and transparency. Parent advocacy groups, such as Raise Your Hand, are closely monitoring the situation and calling for serious and permanent changes within CPS to address these issues.

Conclusion:

The recent report from the CPS Inspector General reveals a significant loss of computers and electronic devices within the district, amounting to over $20 million. The findings underscore the need for improved accountability and transparency within CPS, especially as the district faces a budget deficit. It is crucial for the district to implement the recommendations outlined in the report, such as improving inventory training and search techniques, creating an amnesty period for lost assets, and holding students and staff accountable for their assigned devices. By addressing these issues, CPS can work towards better financial management and ensure that taxpayer funds are used responsibly.