The interim superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Ramon Cortines, wants to reverse course from his predecessor, John Deasy, and spend $22 million in bond money for over 20,000 iPads , reviving a canceled contract with Apple and Pearson. Deasy had canceled the contract in August when information surfaced that his office had ties with Pearson executives. He resigned in October.
Mark Hovatter, chief facilities executive for LAUSD, defended Cortines’ decision, asserting that the cancellation only applied to “instructional” iPads that included the Pearson software. KPCC reports that Hovatter added that the contract could be resurrected, saying, “There was no need to cancel the contract. We believe we got the best value.”
The original June 2013 contract called for LAUSD to buy 650,000 iPads at a cost of $700 each. The iPads would use K-12 software from Pearson. LAUSD later got Apple to bring the price down to $504 when the district eschewed the Pearson software. But when testing during the 2013-2014 school year occurred, Deasy admitted there were not enough iPads for the students.
Ultimately, only 45,000 iPads were bought, leaving only 15% of LAUSD students with iPads. There were other problems, too; many students could not get online or were uncomfortable with the keyboards. Some iPads would not turn on.
In order for Cortines’ proposal to succeed, LAUSD’s Bond Oversight Committee must approve it, and then the school board must also give their approval.
Cotrines’ purchase request reportedly states that the iPads would “prepare students to master Common Core State Standards, facilitate students’ proficient use of digital learning technology, equip educators with tools to advance student learning in the classroom and further close the digital divide.”