Parents Concerned About Cost of Manteca Unified’s Tablet Program

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The Manteca Unified School District has embarked on the first ever large scale tablet program for their students but some parents are concerned that this $30 million project could end up costing them a pretty penny.

Manteca Unified School District educators say a mixture of traditional and new technology will help students at August Knodt Elementary learn.

"Basically, he’s been using it at home, also. So he’s pretty familiar,” parent Juana Escobar said.

Escobar has three kids, all participating in the school district’s $30 million "Go Digital" program.

"Going digital initiative is about providing tools, support and resources,” Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer said.

Within this program, students Kindergarten through 12th grade will receive a tablet. Some concerned parents wonder if their child has their Panasonic 3E tablet stolen, who foots the cost?

"You know what, if someone approaches one of our students and steals the device, give it to them. And we’ll take care of it after the fact,” Messer said.

Messer added the district has plans in place to prevent theft. If a tablet is sold on the black market it becomes nothing more than a fancy paperweight.

"We have systems in place that basically brick the computer, make it useless beyond our educational system,” Messer told FOX40.

"As a parent, we worry if they drop it, it might break, but my daughter’s pretty careful about that,” Escobar explained.

If a student accidentally breaks the device, parents can opt in a $5 a month lease-to-own program which will take care of the cost of the tablet.

"A natural breakage rate is not detrimental to the system that we need to ultimately employ,” Messer claimed.

While the initiative is costly, educators tell FOX40, it’s a great program which will help students adapt to our digitally evolving world.

"It’s pretty, pretty good to have the opportunity that they can have the tablet at school; a different way to learn, you know,” Escobar said.

The school district said, only students 4th through 12th grade can take the tablets home. The district is insured and if the tablets are stolen or broken at school, the district will take care of the cost.

With MUSD’s insurance, it will cost $250 per incident to replace the tablets if broken or stolen on school property. Meaning, if multiple tablets are compromised at once, only $250 is required to pay for their replacements.

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