The Los Angeles school district (LAUSD) learned on Tuesday it will cost $60 million to renew the English and Math software installation on district-wide iPads, as curriculum software purchased on July 16th expires in 2016.
A school district meeting on technology, led by school board Chairperson Monica Ratcliff and joined by Deputy Director of Facilities Contracts Hugh Tucker, revealed that the LAUSD was under the impression that the expensive software was good for the lifetime of the iPads.
Ratcliff responded with alarm to Tucker’s assertion that the software was essentially being rented and as a result had to be renewed: “OK, stop right there. At the end of three years, that content is going to disappear or we’re going to be violating something by attempting to use this content?” Tucker responded, “I believe that to be correct.”
Thousands of the children will not receive the software until six months before the contract expires due to delays in delivering the iPads. The initial rollout has been hampered by security problems and inadequate filters allowing students to freely surf the Internet.
This huge price tag comes on top of Tuesday’s announcement of the $1 billion plan to provide iPads to every LAUSD student and teacher. A large gathering of teachers union members and students gathered outside the Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences in Granada Hills protesting the exorbitant cost of the new technology.
One teacher at Beachy Avenue Elementary School, Victoria Casas, maintains that the technology program is unsustainable and funding should be re-directed toward training teachers and creating smaller class sizes. She stated that technologies “quickly become obsolete,” and asked, “How can we sustain the budget for this — it’s irresponsible.”