Despite open questions about the price the Los Angeles Unified School District is paying for iPads for its students – the total program is slated to cost $1 billion – LAUSD is shutting down its iPad watchdog committee. Board of Education President Richard Vladovic said, “I think there needs to be a conclusion of some sort.” Committees typically have far-reaching investigative powers that aren’t limited by board meeting schedules. But critics say that the committees typically just mirror what the board does.
Monica Ratliff, who runs the watchdog technology committee, was concerned that shutting down the committee was a way to ram through the iPad program wholesale, without oversight: “It’s very clear that the rollout had some problems and the district has been well served by admitting there were problems and beginning to address them.” She stated, “It was really important for the public to have their questions answered publicly.”
Ratliff has largely been stonewalled in her attempts to uncover information. Originally, the administrators in charge of the iPad rollout lied that the iPads wouldn’t need keyboards, although keyboards were necessary; another administrator lied that the district had bought rather than licensed the curriculum. The LAUSD inspector general is still investigating the computer contract.