Many HCS parents left with extra bills due to tablets - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Many HCS parents left with extra bills due to tablets

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - For Brandi Garris and her two kids in Horry County Schools, the end of the school year means they can expect graduation ceremonies, end of school parties, and report cards - not an unexpected bill.

“It's a shock at the end of the year to get a bill for $150 when you're expecting a report card in the mail instead,” she said.

Before the school year even started, Garris and many other parents paid the $50 technology fee offered with the tablets students would use.

Paying the fee meant students could bring technology home, and parents like Garris thought the fee would cover any damages.

"If you don't read all of the fine print, then you don't know,” Garris said.

"I read down the whole list and it said that the insurance only covers one item, and it's the most expensive item,” explained Jeff Foro, another parent with the same situation.

Foro's child also came home with a bill. He couldn't believe it so he took to Facebook to vent.

"The response was overwhelming,” he said. "Within an hour I think there was 40 or 50 comments on it saying the same exact things."

Horry County Schools says that technology fee only covers the first repair on any tablet. Any after that are the family's responsibility.

The district doesn't have any definitive numbers at this point, but is looking into the total cost of all the damages.

Garris, among others says she never knew her son's school fixed his iPad before, and wished she would have known.

"If they're going to use the insurance that I pay for, I would have expected some kind of notification."

Now those parents will have to pay up if they want their kids' report cards, or even if they want to register for next school year.

Those we spoke to say they realize the technology is crucial, they just wish parents were more informed about its costs.

There is good news for many parents though. Those technology fees are changing next year. The school district is cutting the insurance fee in half. 

Click here to see a graphic from the district that details the changing being made for next year.

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