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Friday, January 25, 2008

Officials seek to track school computers

By Elizabeth Benton
Register Staff
NEW HAVEN
— Each year, between 15 to 20 computers are stolen from city schools.
In 2006, the district took an even bigger hit when 40 new laptops at the John C. Daniels School disappeared, just as the school was wrapping up construction.
Yet, school officials estimate about 70 percent of the missing technology is not a result of theft, but of staff moving computers between buildings within the district.
The Board of Education wants to crack down on missing equipment, and is considering purchase of a $68,850 tracking program for high-tech gear at John C. Daniels School and the Gateway Center, both technology headquarters for the public schools.
"We’re trying to proactively use technology to address issues we’re having. Computers seem to have legs around here," said Will Clark, schools’ chief operation officer.
The school board’s Administration and Finance Committee recently approved contracting with Branford-based Advanced Office Systems to purchase radio tracking tags for up to 1,000 computers and other hardware.
The system sends e-mail alerts when tracked items are removed from specified areas.
If the plan receives board approval, the $68,850 system would be installed first at Gateway and Daniels. If it were successful, it could be expanded into other schools for less money, without any of the initial start-up costs.
"This way we know what’s where," Clark said.
The New York Institute of Technology is using the tracking system to monitor student attendance at lectures.
Elizabeth Benton can be reached at 789-5714 or ebenton@nhregister.com.

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