Conservatives Blame ‘Diversity’ for $23 Million in Missing Electronics
Chicago has become the center of attention for the loss of $23 million worth of electronics in its public schools.
This loss includes laptops, iPads, and other devices, which has raised concerns about the management of public funds and initiated a debate, with some conservatives suggesting that the city’s emphasis on diversity might be influencing these losses.
Over 77,000 Devices Unaccounted For
According to Fox News, the Inspector General of Chicago Public Schools reported that during the 2021–22 school year, 77,505 tech devices were lost or stolen.
This figure includes a wide range of equipment such as laptops, iPads, Wi-Fi hot spots, printers, document cameras, and interactive whiteboards. The total loss is estimated at over $23 million, highlighting a serious issue within the school system.
A Hefty Investment with Little Return
In spite of investing over $124 million on technology assets, the Chicago schools have faced significant losses.
The fiscal year 2023 report calls these numbers “unacceptably high” and demands a serious overhaul of the district’s inventory and oversight processes, especially after the first post-COVID-19 inventory assessment.
Linking Diversity to Tech Losses
The Independent News reports that some conservative groups are attributing the extensive loss of technology to the city’s focus on diversity.
They argue that prioritizing diversity over merit and effective management may lead to such issues.
Criticism Over City Management
The Independent News notes that some critics argue that Chicago is one of the worst-run cities in the United States, especially in light of the $23 million loss in school electronics.
There is a growing concern that this loss represents a misuse of taxpayer dollars, primarily contributed by the city’s residents.
Taxpayer Dilemma: The Cost of Replacing Lost Technology
With the Chicago Public Schools facing a budget deficit, there are increasing anxieties about the financial implications of replacing the lost devices.
According to CBS News, the use of taxpayer dollars for this purpose is a significant point of contention, especially given the scale of the losses.
A Matter of Responsibility, Says Inspector General
CBS News reports that CPS Inspector General Will Fletcher said: “You can’t pin this on COVID. You can pin this on students who are just taking devices and not returning them.”
The lack of consequences for not returning these devices seems to have contributed to the high number of losses reported.
A Total Loss in Multiple Schools
In an alarming revelation, it was found that at three dozen schools, all tech devices assigned to students were marked as lost or stolen.
CBS News details that this represents 27% of the district’s tech assets, indicating a systemic issue across various schools.
Neglected Tracking System: A Missed Opportunity for Oversight
CPS had a tracking system in place, worth about $2.5 million, but it was underutilized.
Inspector General Fletcher said, “The district spends about two and a half million dollars on software that’s meant to track and locate devices, but the district just wasn’t using that software.”
Financial Strains and the Need for Transparent Management
Erykah Nava from Raise Your Hand, a parent advocacy group, emphasized the importance of efficient and transparent financial management (via CBS News).
With the end of federal aid and pandemic funds in 2025, CPS faces additional budget pressures, making effective management even more crucial.
CBS News notes that in response to the losses, Chicago Public Schools has begun implementing changes based on the inspector general’s recommendations.
These include improving inventory training, setting up an amnesty period for the return of lost assets, and enforcing accountability for assigned tech devices.
CPS' Commitment to Integrity and Resource Protection
CBS News reports that a statement was released addressing the issue.
A Chicago Public Schools spokesperson said, “As a District, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) take seriously our responsibility to protect the safety of our staff, students and families and to serve our CPS community with integrity, and protect our investments and resources.”