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Ramon Cortines, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, on Tuesday announced the official termination of a plan to equip local schools with $1.3 billion worth of Apple iPads, a project fostered by his predecessor last year.
As of today, LAUSD has scrapped a landmark iPad in education initiative meant to provide Apple's tablet to students and educators within the district's schools, reports the Los Angeles Times. The decision announced on Tuesday was supposedly unrelated to a surprise FBI seizure of 20 boxes of documents from LAUSD's headquarters on Monday.
"We're not going to use the original iPad contract anymore," Cortines said. "I think there have been too many innuendos, rumors, etc., and based on my reading of a great deal of material over Thanksgiving, I came to this conclusion. As CEO and steward of a billion-dollar operation, I have to make sure things are done properly so they are not questioned."
LAUSD, with uncontested Board of Education approval, first inked a $30 million agreement with Apple last June as the initial phase in what would become an ambitious $1.3 billion rollout. The district subsequently earmarked $115 million for additional supply as the project grew beyond 47 seed campuses.
Since initial funding came from voter-approved bonds, "iPad-for-all" was controversial from the start. Further confusing issues was mismanagement and a nebulous funding plan devised in part by former schools Superintendent John Deasy, who championed the iPad initiative as a civil rights issue. Also in question was the bidding process and ongoing budget issues, the latter stemming from a misunderstanding of Apple's bulk purchase discount terms. Facing criticism, Deasy resigned in October.
Other issues with the program included a security breach in which students found a way to bypass school-imposed content filters, prompting LAUSD to halt home use of the tablets.
As noted in today's report, Cortines' decision will delay 27 schools from receiving iPads already approved last year. As an option, the campuses can swap out iPads for Google's Chromebook under a separate deal authorized by the board in June.