LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Unified School District’s $1 billion plans to put an iPad in the hands of every student has been overshadowed by reports of 340 students at three schools defeating the devices’ security firewalls to access social media.
The school district quickly adopted a policy restricting students from taking the devices home, school district officials said.
LAUSD’s school board has scheduled a special meeting for Oct. 29 to discuss concerns raised, the day before the districts’ bond oversight committee plans to meet to discuss the next phase of the roll-out.
As a result of the first phase, 30,000 students at 30 district schools are using iPads, said Shannon Haber, a district spokeswoman. The first phase will eventually provide the devices to students in 47 schools.
The $1 billion projected cost includes the purchase of the devices and modernization of the schools technology infrastructure, said John Walsh, the district’s financial policy director.
The district plans to issue $678 million in bonds next year using up the remaining capacity under voter-approved Measure R and Y, Walsh said.
School district officials don’t plan to bond for the entire $1 billion, but will use cash for part of the cost, he said.
LAUSD used cash to purchase $30 million in iPads, software and technical support from Apple and educational systems provider Pearson in a contract approved by the school board on June 19.
The contract represents the first phase in a multi-year project expected to cost $400 million for the devices and eventually provide iPads for students at the district’s 786 K-12 schools, Walsh said. The additional $600 million will fund substantial infrastructure upgrades needed to use the devices.
The I-Pad program and the district’s other modernization needs are being evaluated to determine the size of the bond issuance. The district still has $7 billion in bonding capacity under Measure Q as well.
“We are still trying to understand the cash flow issues,” of the iPad program, Walsh said.
Those include figuring out how many devices to purchase at once and when the money will be required; and what that means in terms of the school district’s other capital needs, he said.
District officials plan to present a five-year budget to the school board and bond oversight committee at the October meetings.