Parents unsure about iPad insurance fee for Horry County schools

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Back to school can put weight on your wallet, from school supplies to clothes. Now, Horry County schools are adding another fee, in order for your students to be able to bring home iPads. If you don't pay the fee, that could cost you too.

The $50 insurance is optional, but you need to make a decision whether or not you'll pay, before the iPad is in your kid's hands.

In response to parents reaction to the fee, Horry County Schools released a statement explaining its purpose and answering questions for parents. Find it here:

The use of iPads is part of the digital learning initiative in Horry County Schools. The district says the use of the iPad prepares students for college, real jobs and the real world. With that, they're allowing middle and high school students to bring iPads home, if they pay $50 insurance for the school year.  The $50 will cover accidental damage to the iPad, whether it happens at school or home, from a broken screen to complete destruction.

Even if you don't pay the fee and there's damage at school, you're still responsible, and replacing an iPad could cost $500. Horry County schools say the insurance option gives parents peace of mind, but some are concerned about the initial chunk out of their wallet.

The $50 payment wasn't available when parents registered their kids for school, parents recently found out. One parent says a last minute fee, on top of back to school costs, could put a heavy weight on some families.

"It might hurt families that live on a tight budget and not have the $50, although, they did give us a choice to pay like $20 down and $10 a week. Budgets, of course, are sometimes tight in South Carolina, so that may hurt some families initially to get their children the pads," said Renee Fletcher, parent of a North Myrtle Beach middle school student.

That option for a payment plan with the school is $20 down and $10 per month until the $50 is paid off.

The school district says students will not be given homework assignments on the pads, so not paying the fee or not being able to take an iPad home won't hurt their schoolwork.

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