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updated: 4/30/2014 5:52 PM

Barrington 220 discusses options for laptop program

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The Barrington Area Unit District 220 school board this week outlined the options for families interested in keeping beyond the end of the school year the laptops their high school students will be issued this fall.

District spokesman Jeff Arnett said parents will be mailed a form this month asking them to choose between the standard laptop plan or the "lease-to-own" plan.

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Cindy Jaskowiak, the district's assistant superintendent for technology, told the school board that the standard plan will work similar to how the district issues textbooks. After paying a $119 technology fee, which covers insurance for the device, students will receive an Apple MacBook Air laptop, which then will be collected at the end of the school year.

Under the "lease-to-own" plan, students who pay an additional fee would be able keep the laptop through all four years of high school, including summer breaks, and take it with them after they graduate. Incoming freshmen enrolled in the leasing program would pay $125 a year on top of the annual technology fee.

Patricia Haughney, the district's director of information services, said the fees for the lease-to-own program were set after consulting with Apple.

"We asked Apple how we should determine the resale price of the MacBook Airs and they suggested that we look on eBay, because that is how they, truly, (determine) the resale price," Haughney said.

Arnett said that while the fees are not likely to change, there are some minor policies presented this week that could get a second look.

One concerns instances in which a family wants to quit the leasing program before their child graduates because they can no longer afford it.

Jaskowiak told the board that in such a case the student would be removed from the leasing program and put on the standard option. The family would not be issued a refund for the money they had paid already.

"Why not?" board President Brian Battle asked. "It seems like that would be the compassionate thing."

Jaskowiak said one reason not to offer a refund is because those students had previously enjoyed the benefit of being able to take their device home for the summer while other students had not.

Battle said he would support those kind of refunds being handled on a case-by-case basis.

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