Los Angeles school board member Monica Ratliff will seek the release of an internal probe into the decision to provide iPads to every student in the nation’s second-largest school system.
Officials had classified the report, by the school district’s inspector general, as a confidential investigation when it was completed earlier this year. But the Board of Education has the authority to make it public with a majority vote. Members have come under increased pressure to reveal its findings as new questions arise about the bidding process in the $1.3-billion effort.
Concerns about the contract and other issues prompted L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy last week to suspend new purchases under the Apple contract. He also authorized a new bidding process for future purchases. To date, the district has spent about $61 million to purchase 109,000 iPads and carts to store and charge the devices; 62,000 of these iPads have curriculum provided by education publishing giant Pearson under the same contract.
Ratliff's proposal, which she will make next week, would declassify “any report or reports prepared by its Office of the Inspector General relating to the procurement process” for the iPads. Her resolution would direct that future reports also be released “as soon as practicable.”
The proposal justifies the release because “there has been much public and media interest” and because the school board “seeks to promote transparency regarding the procurement of computing devices” that will be used with updated curriculum.
The inspector general’s inquiry focused narrowly on the period of the formal bidding process. That report was reviewed by the L.A. County district attorney’s office, which concluded that no criminal charges were warranted.
Under school board rules, the proposal would be introduced at the next regular meeting on Sept. 9. Board members would vote on it at the Oct. 14 meeting.