After officially scrapping a $1.3 billion educational technology initiative based on Apple's iPad, the Los Angeles Unified School District is reportedly demanding the company either return millions of dollars or face a lawsuit.
According to local radio station KPCC, LAUSD informed Apple that it will no longer put money toward course material provided by content partner Pearson, saying the district was "extremely dissatisfied" with the software implementation. Educators complained that Pearson's software was half-baked, contained errors and lacked lessons and promised interactive material.
"While Apple and Pearson promised a state-of-the-art technological solution for ITI implementation, they have yet to deliver it," LAUSD attorney David Holmquist wrote in a letter to Apple's general counsel. "As we approach the end of the school year, the vast majority of students are still unable to access the Pearson curriculum on iPads."
LAUSD rolled out the first phase of its now defunct Instructional Technology Initiative, also known as "iPad-for-all," in 2013 with a $30 million agreement to supply iPads to 47 seed campuses. ITI would become an ambitious $1.3 billion project hoping to provide similar technology to more than 640,000 students.
The district officially killed the initiative in December after a tumultuous start involving mismanagement and shady funding plans by former schools Superintendent John Deasy. Critics took issue with the bidding process, saying Apple and Pearson had an unfair advantage in winning the lucrative contract, claims currently at the center of an ongoing FBI investigation. Deasy ultimately resigned in October of 2014.
Teachers also faced problems implementing iPads into their curriculum, including a security breach in which students discovered they could bypass school-imposed content filters. Administrators last year opened the program up to other platforms, including Google's Chromebook and Microsoft's Surface.