Horry County Schools ask parents to pay to take tech home

The Horry County School District will give students a chance to bring their personalized digital learning devices, or iPads, home with them from class.

The district made the official announcement at Monday night's Horry County School Board meeting.

The iPads are part of the school district's Personalized Digital Learning (PDL) initiative, which aims to give every student, in the district, an iPad over three years.

In order for students to bring their iPads home, an insurance fee has to be paid just in case the iPad breaks at home or at school.

"The $50 insurance option is a one-time, but annual fee, so it's something that's required each year," said Horry County Schools Spokeswoman Teal Britton.

If a student doesn't break the iPad, the $50 is not carried over to the next year. Parents will have to pay $50 each year the child is in school, according to Britton.

If parents choose not to buy the insurance, it will mean students will only be able to use their iPad in the classroom.

In addition, if a student breaks their iPad in school, it could cost up to $600 to replace, according to a Horry County Schools Personal Mobile Computing Device Guide & Agreement.

School Board Chairman Joe Defeo heard about the finalized plans at the school board meeting on Monday and said he would have liked the fee to be handled differently.

This year students from grades six through twelve will be given iPads. The school introduced the iPads to students in grades six through eight last year, but paying for insurance was not implemented yet.

"I would have implemented it in high schools first and then next year implemented it in perhaps the middle school," Defeo said.

Defeo said the board didn't have to approve this fee. The administration was able to make that move on its own.

The money collected from the insurance fee will go directly to a fund that will be used to pay for repairs to the iPad devices, according to Britton.