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Judy Burton steps down as chair of technology initiative taskforce

Craig Clough | September 1, 2015

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Judy Burton

Judy Burton

LA Unified has announced that Judy Burton has stepped down as chair of the Instructional Technology Initiative Taskforce, which is guiding the district’s tech objectives in the wake of the cancelled iPad program.

Burton resigned as CEO and president of Alliance College-Ready Public Schools in January, the same month she was named to head up the new taskforce, but her chairmanship was on a volunteer basis and she stepped down for personal reasons, the district said.

Burton, who could not be reached for comment, will be replaced by as chair by Frances Marie Gipson, who also serves as superintendent for LA Unified’s Local District East.

“I want to thank Dr. Burton for giving her time to propel this incredibly important work forward,” Superintendent Ramon Cortines said in a statement. “She is truly an outstanding individual who does so much for the students of Los Angeles and surrounding areas. I am pleased she will be passing the torch to Dr. Gipson, who is experienced as a teacher, a scholar, and, most importantly, a leader.”

The district’s $1.3 billion Common Core Technology Project had the ambitious agenda of getting a computer tablet in the hand of every student and teacher in the district. But the project stumbled at nearly level as it experienced a problematic rollout, ineffective Pearson educational software and increased scrutiny of the bidding process.

After the FBI seized files in December related to the bidding process as part of a federal grand jury investigation, Cortines canceled the Common Core Technology Project. In January, he announced the project was being rebranded and redirected under the Instructional Technology Initiative. Cortines also announced that a 1-to-1 tablet project was no longer the goal, and the taskforce was asked to provide recommendations for a three-year strategic plan for the tech/computer programs, which will be presented to the school board in December.

The taskforce is meeting for the first time in the current school year on Sept. 10 under Cortines before he turns it over to Gipson.

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