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TO:                  Superintendents of Schools and Principals


FROM:            J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner


DATE:             October 16, 2002


RE:                   Provisions for Repair, Replacement, and Insurance for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI)


                  In response to questions from the field regarding provisions for repair, replacement, and insurance for the MLTI, we offer the following update to clarify the current situation with regard to State provisions and local responsibilities.  We have attempted to provide the best possible information at each stage of implementation, but candidly we are limited to some extent by the lack of experience and the fact that this is uncharted territory.  The State contract with Apple has some significant provisions against loss and damage -- but these provisions are clearly not universal in their coverage as described below.  Inevitably, there are different assessments of risk at the local level and as a result local units may opt to pursue different strategies. 




I.  Coverage Provided by the State Through Apple Contract


A.  AppleCare


All iBooks are covered by a four-year AppleCare policy.  AppleCare provides help desk support, troubleshooting, and repair for defects.  AppleCare assistance is accessed through a toll-free number with an exclusive access code for MLTI.  AppleCare does not cover repairs resulting from accidents or negligence.


B.  Buffer Pool


The Apple contract includes a pool of 1% of the total number of devices ordered by the State, or approximately 360 machines, to be used to replace machines that are unintentionally destroyed or lost over the four years of the



contract.  The contract further provides that machines not in use in years 3 and 4 of the contract due to declining enrollments can be added to the Buffer Pool (this is expected to be several hundred additional machines).


If a machine is unusable and not covered by AppleCare, the Department of Education will issue a new machine from the buffer pool.  School principals must submit the form in Section 5 of the MLTI Manual to request a machine from the Buffer Pool.  Schools or students will also be required to submit a claim for any available insurance.  If a school has numerous claims from the Buffer Pool, the Department reserves the right to limit the number of machines that will be issued to that school from the Pool.  Note also that the Buffer Pool is not intended to cover any intentional or reckless damage to devices.


Only experience will tell whether the Buffer Pool will be sufficient to cover losses over four years.  The Department will be evaluating its use throughout the year and will be working with Apple to advise schools on ways to limit loss and breakage.  We are hopeful that the Buffer Pool will be adequate for these purposes, but we cannot guarantee that up front because this is really uncharted territory.


The limited capacity of the Buffer Pool imposes two critical obligations upon local school units:  (1) proper training and oversight in the care and maintenance of the iBooks by teachers and students must be strongly reinforced so that the loss and damage experience statewide is truly minimized; having to respond to preventable damage will undermine our ability to respond with replacements for the unavoidable accidents and damage in a large-scale deployment such as this one; and (2) any devices that are not assigned to a student in subsequent years (due to the projected declining student cohorts in Maine over the next four years) MUST be returned to augment the Buffer Pool so that there is continued provision against loss and damage in Years 2-4 of the contract.



II. School Responsibility


A.  School Insurance


The Apple contract does not cover a large loss on school property (e.g., fire, flood, theft), and the Buffer Pool is obviously not large enough to cover a series of such catastrophic events.  The Department asks schools to add the iBooks to their existing insurance policies.  Because the Department has turned the care of the iBooks over to each school for the term of the contract (through June 2006), schools have an insurable interest in their iBooks.  Schools should contact their insurance agents to add the iBooks to their existing insurance policies to address the risk of direct physical loss, including theft.  We believe the cost of doing this should be relatively small.


B.  Coverage of Repairs Resulting From Negligence/Accidents


As mentioned above, damage caused by accidents or negligence is not covered by AppleCare.  Machines that are no longer useable can be replaced through the Buffer Pool, though, again, the Buffer Pool is not meant to cover any intentional or reckless damage to the devices.  However, the Buffer Pool is not large enough – and was not designed – to cover repairs to machines that have marginal damage but are still in working condition (e.g., a machine with a broken CD rom door, or broken latch due to an accident).  Insurance policies are available that provide coverage for such repairs.  Schools at their option may wish to obtain such coverage and/or ask parents to contribute to such coverage.  We are not really in a position to advise districts on the likely incidence of damage, and the relative economic value of insurance versus the potential for work-arounds, or some other form of set-aside of repair funds or additional devices as "self-insurance."  We will provide any information we can on the apparent feasibility of these options as it becomes available.  School with such insurance would have less need to draw on the Buffer Pool, as losses would be covered by these policies.



III.  Use of machines Outside School


A.  Taking Machines Home


The same coverage described above (AppleCare, Buffer Pool) applies to machines that students take home.  However, once the iBooks are outside the control of the school, both the Department and the school need some assurance that parents and students will care for the machines.  This is why some school systems deploying laptops in other States have required parents to purchase insurance policies for the devices.  The Department is not requiring such insurance.  However, as a local choice, a school may ask parents to purchase or contribute towards insurance as a means of providing coverage (particularly for repairs that are not covered by AppleCare or the Buffer Pool) and as a means for parents and students to take an "ownership interest” in the devices.  A policy is currently available from Safeware Insurance, and other companies may also offer appropriate policies.  Schools may also be able to obtain coverage from their current school insurer to cover student use at home.  Schools should contact their insurance agent for further information.


B.  Use Outside Maine


The Department has had one inquiry about teachers taking iBooks to a conference outside the State.  The Buffer Pool will not cover a machine lost or damaged outside the State.  If a school makes the choice to allow the iBooks to be taken out of State, the school will be responsible for any loss or damage that occurs.



IV.  Summary


·                    Defects - covered by AppleCare. 


·                    Machine lost, destroyed, damaged and in unusable condition (e.g., broken screen) - covered by available insurance then by the Buffer Pool, subject to availability.  (Note: Buffer Pool may be used to provide machines on a temporary basis while an insurance claim is being processed).


·                    Loss on school property due to fire, theft, flood, etc. - covered by school insurance policy.


·                    Repairs to machines that are still usable - responsibility of school.  Can use insurance coverage, if available; or choose to use in current condition; or school may pay for repair and seek reimbursement from teacher or parent for repair.