LA school district approves $115M initiative to bring iPads to 38 campuses

iPad ad (Alive, education 001)

The Los Angeles Board of Education has approved a plan to deploy Apple’s iPad tablets to 38 campuses ahead of state tests in the spring, which is part of the school district’s effort to equip additional classrooms with tablets and computers to “revolutionize instruction”, The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

The proposal is worth an estimated $115 million – enough to purchase between 40,000 and 70,000 tablets for deployment across 38 campuses, as well as a bunch of laptops for seven high schools…

According to the paper, the 115-million proposal removes a cap on how many iPads the district could buy for standardized testing scheduled for the spring. Board members said the number will be “well below” the 67,500 tablets the district staff had recommended.

And what are they expected to pay for the iPads?

How about $768 per device?

The sum files as one of the highest prices among school districts, though the iPad has never been what you’d call a cheap tablet to begin with. For $768 per device, Apple has also agreed to provide the “latest tablets” (read: iPad Air) at no additional charge, in addition to standard services such as curriculum and network upgrades.

L.A. Unified also is negotiating to pay $200 to $300 per device less for the iPads used only for testing, said Mark Hovatter, the district’s head of facilities.

This would bring the per-device cost down to a total more in line with what some other school districts are paying. On the downside, the testing package would exclude curriculum developed by Pearson, three days of training from Apple and Pearson and an Apple TV box for every classroom.

“Until now, the district has been locked into paying top dollar for a discontinued model,” the article reads. The iPad 2 used to be the king of education due to its affordable price, popularity and speed stemming from its non-Retina display.

iPad deployment began last fall at 47 schools. The school district now expects to equip all 640,000 students with iPads by the end of this year.

I always like to go to this Steve Jobs quote about education:

I used to think that technology could help education. I’ve probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody else on the planet.

But I’ve had to come to the inevitable conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology.

No amount of technology will make a dent.

I think he nailed it.