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Report: Schools need to do better job of tracking digital devices

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  • Staff Report 

A recent audit by New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office revealed that digital devices, including laptops, tablets, and monitors, in schools across the state are poorly tracked and vulnerable to theft or damage. The audit, which assessed the policies of 20 school districts, found that many information technology offices struggled to locate assets.

The audit, conducted from July 1, 2019, to March 31, 2022, discovered that over 20% of technology assets in schools, worth $280,000, were not properly accounted for. Auditors examined more than 95,000 inventory records and identified almost 4,400 missing entries or duplicated serial numbers. Additionally, approximately 4,800 pieces of equipment lacked location information or assigned worker names.

Eight out of the 20 school districts surveyed lacked adequate protection measures to prevent equipment loss or damage, and none had implemented policies for accurately tracking IT inventory. DiNapoli emphasized the need for officials to ensure that devices are tracked and protected, considering the significant investment in IT assets during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The comptroller’s office recommended implementing improved tracking policies for IT inventory, conducting annual equipment reviews, updating records, and developing processes to retrieve student devices when they leave a school.