$135 million more proposed for L.A. Unified’s iPad rollout

Top Los Angeles school officials hope to spend $135 million in the spring semester for the next portion of the iPad rollout, according to the official price estimate that emerged this week as part of a revised, compromise plan.

That compromise was characterized as a slowdown of the $1-billion effort to provide iPads to every student and teacher in the nation’s second-largest school system. But the pace would not be slow compared to the first phase of the distribution this fall.

Providing iPads to the first group of 47 schools cost about $50 million. The spring spending, if it gets final approval, would more than double that.

The money would pay for 24,541 tablets at 38 schools and 28,385 iPads for teachers and administrators across the school system. The plan also calls for buying an additional 67,480 tablets to allow for all students to take new state standardized tests with the iPad on a rotating basis. In addition, the plan calls for buying more than 116,000 keyboards and 2,000 storage and charging carts.


The last major cost item is equipping every teacher and student at seven high schools with a laptop computer—to see if that device is superior to a tablet for older students.

At the end of the spring semester, purchases are expected to stop while the program is analyzed, for as much as a year.

This spending plan will go this week for review by a committee that oversees school-bond spending. The vast majority of project costs are being paid for with voter-approved school bonds.

The oversight committee is expected to vote on the proposal on Wednesday. It is scheduled to return in December to the Board of Education, which has the final say.


A subcommittee of the bond oversight committee advised approving only part of the plan. In an analysis, the panel endorsed providing tablets to 38 additional schools. But the panel said it was premature to buy tablets for all teachers and administrators.

The panel also said the district failed to justify that 67,480 additional tablets would be needed for students to take standardized tests. The district failed to account for existing district computers, which also can be used, the panel said.


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