SAN JOSE -- About $70,000 worth of laptop computers and iPads -- some purchased after parents spent two years raising funds for them -- were stolen over the weekend from River Glen Elementary School.
On Monday, Principal Carlos Salcido discovered that someone had broken into the school's technology room and stolen 31 laptops and 31 iPads.
He reported the theft online to San Jose Police, district spokeswoman Traci Cook said.
After this newspaper inquired Tuesday with police about the theft, Sgt. Heather Randol wrote in an e-mail, "We weren't aware of the theft until you brought it to our attention."
Cook said that the school followed district protocol in reporting the theft.
"The loss of this equipment is a big blow to River Glen students," said Cook, who noted that it will set back standardized testing, which is supposed to be on computers this year.
Parents at the school, a K-8 Spanish immersion program in Willow Glen, said they were dismayed by the loss.
"I'm still a little numb," said Michele Bertolone, who heads the technology committee for Habla, the River Glen parent group. "I feel like we've gone five steps back in time. We've been working so hard as a community to raise money for technology."
In an email sent Tuesday to parents, Salcido said that the school is working with the police and San Jose Unified School District to locate the computers. Estimated to be worth $70,000, the computers' value falls below the district's insurance deductible, Salcido wrote, so they won't be replaced immediately.
The school of 550 students has about 60 other laptops and 30 iPads, Bertolone said. But some, dubbed "legacy computers" by the school are older than some of the children using them, she said.
The outdated technology was what prompted parents to raise money to replace them. They solicited donations, held a walk-a-thon and a black-tie dinner-dance and applied for grants.
"You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to raise money for technology," she said. "Everybody's racing around the valley trying to get grants, but lots of granters want to fund other things besides tech."
The parent group bought not only about 60 iPads, but also purchased bilingual software that students can use at home, in school and on mobile devices.
The theft hurts students, Bertolone said, because many of them don't have computers at home. "These computers are making all the difference for kids who otherwise have very little exposure to technology," she said.
Now, she said, it will be hard for all the River Glen students to get enough time on computers.