IPads for L.A. teachers to be postponed under new plan

Los Angeles school district officials have postponed plans to provide iPads to all teachers and administrators but still want to use the tablets for new standardized tests this spring.

The scaled-back proposal was described by L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy in a meeting Monday with Times reporters and editors.

The Board of Education was set to vote on the next phase of a $1-billion effort to provide iPads to every student, teacher and school administrator in the nation's second-largest school system. Forty-seven schools were part of an initial fall roll-out that ran into problems and fell behind schedule.

The latest delay is not as much about logistics as about taking into account concerns of the school board and of a separate committee that oversees school bond spending, Deasy said. The Apple tablets are being paid for with school construction bonds.

The Board of Education, Deasy said, has asked him “to go slower” on the technology project. He added that there is a downside to this delay, but said it didn’t make sense to train teachers and administrators on the Apple tablets if their students may not receive them.

The current plan still involves significant new spending, possibly in excess of $100 million. Deasy wants to distribute iPads to 38 schools this year. And the Board of Education has indicated it wants to begin a bidding process that would try out laptop computers instead of iPads at seven high schools.

Another proposal -- buying more than 67,000 iPads for standardized testing -- could encounter more resistance on the school board. The bond oversight committee rejected this plan until district staff could provide additional information. The decision by the oversight committee, however, is not binding.

Deasy and other senior officials have insisted these iPads are needed. New standardized tests are supposed to be given on a computer, but the district has not yet provided an inventory of how many older computers could be used for that task.

The school board was supposed to take up the matter Tuesday, but the meeting was delayed to Dec. 17 after the death of board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte last week.

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Twitter: @howardblume 

howard.blume@latimes.com

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