What happened to the missing laptops?

July 28, 2009 4:37:15 PM PDT
Administrators can't say if the 36 laptops missing from the high school are stolen or just misplaced. School board member Harry Storch, who first tipped administrators, is critical of the district's security."What happened to them? They just didn't get up and walk away."

Superintendent Thomas Chapman admits a routine inventory of the schools 1700 laptops failed to discover most of the missing units. It took Storch's tip to produce a full accounting.

Chapman promises tighter security.

"Although we wish this did not happen it helps us sharpen our security focus."

Laptop troubles here are not new, 60 of them burned up last week in a school district warehouse fire. They had been moved there after more than 45 other laptops were discovered missing from this local alternative school.

All this comes at a time when both federal and local authorities are investigating the school district's operations. Sources say investigators are looking at the use of district issued credit cards as well as financial issues in both athletic and food service operations.

Superintendent Chapman was asked if the laptop issue connects in anyway with what is being probed.

"All I've been told is to refer any questions (to) district attorney."

The school's attorney was unavailable Tuesday but critical school board members feel something is not right. They talk about a lack of oversight.

"We had a forensic audit of the athletic department. We had shortages there, we found missing records," said William Cinfici, who is a school board member.

"There were reports that were banned and one of the things that was cited was improper inventory. People think it doesn't matter but it adds up, it costs the taxpayers and it cheats the students."