New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer blasted the Department of Education for losing track of computers and other electronic devices purchased for the city's school system.

Stringer said that an audit his office performed showed over 1,800 computers, tablets and other forms of technology are missing from nine sample locations which include eight schools and one agency office. These results are similar to the results from the same audit administered in December 2014. There are over 2,000 DOE sites citywide.

“For every computer that goes missing, there’s potentially a kid that doesn’t have access to the technology they need to further their education.” Stringer said.

Over 3,500 devices that were or should have been at those nine locations were not accounted for in the DOE’s inventory, the audit showed. There were nearly 400 devices found that still haven’t been opened yet.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer with Marjorie Landa Deputy Comptroller for Audits on Wednesday.
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer with Marjorie Landa Deputy Comptroller for Audits on Wednesday. Jacob Schneider

Between July 2014 and March 2016 the DOE entered into contracts worth $209.9 million for computers, laptops, tablets and monitors with Apple, Lenovo and CDW Government LLC.

The new audit revealed that the DOE didn’t even look for 1,090 of the 1,817 computers missing from the 2014 audit. The DOE also failed to properly account for 35% of pieces of computer hardware, the report said.

Stringer also called for stricter tracking systems, connecting pieces of technology to specific classrooms so the computers and tablets can be easily found. The DOE never implemented this tracking system. There are more than 2,000 “site administrators” across the school system responsible for tracking the inventory. These inventories are never reconciled with the DOE’s purchasing database or Asset Management System. This means the DOE has no way of knowing if all of the items purchased are properly accounted for at school locations, Stringer said.

“I’m not making a recommendation -- I’m demanding the DOE track these computers,” Stringer said. “Two and a half years ago there were thousands of missing computers. Today, there’s thousands of missing computers.”

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