Bond panel recommends a smaller iPad buy in phase 2*
LA School Report | December 18, 2013
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The committee that oversees how LA Unified spends bond money today recommended that the district school board scale back the size of the next phase of iPad distribution.
In rejecting the latest proposal from Superintendent John Deasy, the School Construction Bond Citizens’ Oversight Committee voted to reduce the number of iPads bought, to 38,535 from the number Deasy had proposed, 67,500; the number of carts to 1,101, from 1,928; and the overall spend to $89 million, from $114 million. A plan to bring the phase 2 iPads to 38 schools remained unchanged.
The reduction in iPads reflects a policy change by the state Department of Education that requires students to take fewer field tests.
The committee had approved parts of the Deasy plan at its November meeting, rejected others and asked district officials to clarify a few aspects that were not clear.
The committee’s latest recommendations followed a board decision yesterday to postpone approving the use of bond money for the next wave of digital device distribution. The committee included in its recommendation the board’s desire to purchase laptops for seven high schools as a way to evaluate whether they suit older students better than iPads.
The issue next comes before the board on Jan. 14, but the committee’s recommendation remains just that, a recommendation. Board members retain the right to spend as much as they want for as many devices as they want, with the caveat that any use of bond money must survive scrutiny of the committee.
Currently, the district has enough remaining funds from previous bond sales to pay for the next round of iPads and laptops, without starting the sale of Measure Q bonds, which was approved by voters in 2008.
*This version clarifies the reason for recommending fewer iPads.