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Los Angeles school district's iPad program running grossly over budget

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
The Los Angeles Unified School District's $30 million program to outfit 47 campuses with iPads is running substantially richer than planned, with the system paying nearly $100 more per tablet than originally budgeted.



According to the district's latest budget disclosure, L.A. Unified is paying some $770 per iPad, about $100 more than the $678 per iPad figure quoted when the program was announced in June, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday.

The discrepancy stems from confusion regarding the bulk purchase discount Apple agreed to supply with the iPad buy, which is part of the school system's $1 billion educational technology initiative. L.A. Unified is still eligible for the discounted pricing of $678 per device, but only after the district spends $400 million, worth 520,000 iPads.

As reported in July, the public school system planned to distribute 31,000 iPads across 47 schools in what Superintendent John Deasy called a "pilot test."

Originally, a $50 million budget was drawn up using an early estimated iPad price of $650, which allotted $20.3 million for the tablets and the rest for training and infrastructure expenses. In the latest budget, the district made an over $4 million adjustment to account for the additional iPad cost.

The publication noted that cost-per-unit is higher for the schools as each device comes with a protective case, three-year warranty, training and one Apple TV for every 20 students.

While L.A. Unified anticipates that it will reach the $400 million goal, not doing so would nullify the Apple contract, meaning the system would pay even more for the iPads.

The program came under scrutiny in September after a number of students bypassed the school-installed security safeguards, allowing them to browse the web and visit banned sites like Facebook and YouTube. The district consequently halted iPad home use, while some schools opted to repossess the devices.

For now, the program is still a go, though some aspects have been delayed, while others borrow money from the general school fund.
post #2 of 57
I am guessing the people that approved the budget for the program obtained their math skills from somewhere within the LAUSD.

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post #3 of 57

Lots of things run over budgets in this country.  ( Wars, Constructions etc... )

While it is good to stay within budget, education is not a bad thing to spend money on.  

Apple should help them as much as possible because it is important that this program succeeds in a big way.

 

This program will pay off in the long term and without a doubt greatly improve education for a lot of kids who would never have had the opportunity otherwise, not to mention many adults who did not have the opportunity as children.

 

The trick now is to maximize the learning and the communication for everyone.  LA must take full advantage of the system by finding innovative ways to put the iPads to use for children and adults for their tax money. Apple can help a lot with iCloud.  Life in the entire community can be greatly improved by this.

 

Time will tell.

post #4 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post
 

Lots of things run over budgets in this country.  ( Wars, Constructions etc... )

While it is good to stay within budget, education is not a bad thing to spend money on.  

Apple should help them as much as possible because it is important that this program succeeds in a big way.

 

This program will pay off in the long term and without a doubt greatly improve education for a lot of kids who would never have had the opportunity otherwise, not to mention many adults who did not have the opportunity as children.

 

The trick now is to maximize the learning and the communication for everyone.  LA must take full advantage of the system by finding innovative ways to put the iPads to use for children and adults for their tax money. Apple can help a lot with iCloud.  Life in the entire community can be greatly improved by this.

 

Time will tell.

 

Yup, Apple is swimming in cash, so I hope exercise a little leniency in return for good press.

post #5 of 57
Maybe the contract was written in English, so school admin officials did not really understand the fundamental terms

Like the very basic one of having to meet a volume target to get a discount

I know, it's so complicated

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post #6 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post

Maybe the contract was written in English, so school admin officials did not really understand the fundamental terms

Like the very basic one of having to meet a volume target to get a discount

I know, it's so complicated

 

Yeah, screw you education system. Pay up! We need your money, don't dick us around. Those half million iPad sales could add a few cents to my share price. /s

post #7 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post
 

The trick now is to maximize the learning and the communication for everyone.  LA must take full advantage of the system by finding innovative ways to put the iPads to use for children and adults for their tax money.

 

I would hope that they already had a comprehensive plan to add value to their curriculum with demonstrably tangible results before deciding to blow a BILLION dollars on iPads. If the kids just end up dicking around with them, the money would have been better spent on more teachers and scanners to catch kids carrying guns/knives.

 

I've got two kids with me from Japan, studying in English because their (wealthy top international surgeon) father believes they will have better opportunities in working life if fluent in English. They're on school vacation right now, but if they could drag themselves away from dicking with their iPads to actually learn something for just five minutes perhaps they'd stand a chance. As it looks to me, they waste too much time playing trivial games and will fail their exams miserably.

 

Children today don't need any encouragement to cling onto whatever electronic device they are obsessed with and waste the days away. Dishing them out in school is lunacy. We need to 'de-normalize' this obsession with gadgets.

post #8 of 57
The LAUSD budget is $7 Billion per year. $4 Million is 0.06% of their annual budget. If these things are on a 3 year lifecycle, then divide that by 3.

You should also know that all schools in California pay sales tax, 9% now in LA.
post #9 of 57

I believe that iPads can be a great asset to education, and I wish that such devices existed back when I was a kid in school. It sure beats carrying around a bunch of heavy, old books, with obscene scribbles all over the pages.

 

This story isn't really about iPads at all though. The takeaway that I get from the story is that this is simply yet another example of gross incompetence, extreme negligence and the potential criminal misuse and waste of taxpayer dollars, perpetrated by clueless and lazy bureaucrats working for an inept and amateurish government, where there is practically no accountability for anything.

 

But looking on the bright side, at least their incompetence benefits Apple, which in turn benefits me. 


Edited by Apple ][ - 10/25/13 at 2:56am
post #10 of 57
Send in the Terminator!
post #11 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

potential criminal misuse and waste of taxpayer dollars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

a great asset to education

 

Does not compute.

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post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
 

 

Does not compute.

 

Buying the iPads is good. Going grossly over budget is not.

post #13 of 57

If the budget was too low due to a misunderstanding of a bulk purchase deal then that's a fault of budgeting, it doesn't mean that the money is being poorly spent (on "great assets") or that there is anything criminal going on.  Temper your anti-government rhetoric.

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post #14 of 57
The general issue is that there's the false belief education gets better when one just throws enough money and thechnology at it, when back in the times of ink wells, chalk and blackboards people got an education most just can dream about today.

I'm sure e.g. spelling correction on the iPads does wonders to kids ability to master their language...

Also yet to be seen how healthy it is to stare for hours on actively lit screens both in classroom and out, as compared with eye friendly paper or even e-ink (if it absolutely has to be electronic books)

Not that iPads can't help improving certain aspects of education, like e.g. tracking where a supposedly called-in sick kid is by using "find my iPad" and holding parents responsible, but the iPads by themselves will not solve what's fundamentally broken in the US education system.
post #15 of 57
I get a chuckle out of those that would have Apple "cut the district some slack" since Apple has so much cash. How in the world is Apple in any way the bad guy and why would you imply they hold responsibility here?

LAUSD entered in the best possible contract negotiating big discounts. LAUSD took advantage of Apple with aggressive educational pricing and wrangled further discounts, 3-year warranty, covers, free Apple TVs and training. WTH??

IT'S NOT APPLE'S RESPONSIBILITY TO DO LAUSD'S BUDGETS FOR THEM.

Lastly, I love the budget mishaps. Some dude used $650 price which they got out of thin air, then after the signed the contract, no one ever though to verify and reconcile the actual pricing of the iPads which are either $770 or $678, but not $650.

LAUSD, this is your problem. Step up, use this to your advantage and give Apple some slack in the form of air cover. Tell the world that Apple is a good, upstanding company and had nothing to do with the budget mishap.
post #16 of 57
Schools are so full of it. They use iPads more as a marketing tool to attract students than as an educational tool. Private schools went first to lure parents and kids away from public schools. Now public schools use market them to lure them back. In reality, the schools do a terrible job of managing them and using them effectively in the classroom. The cost to the student has gone up because the student is often forced to pay insurance on the device. Ebooks have show little to no savings over traditional books and textbooks.
post #17 of 57
Can someone from government FOR ONCE tell me that something came in under budget?
post #18 of 57
Another huge waste of taxpayer dollars and to top it of the budget director(s) cannot even get their budget calculated properly. What a shame!
post #19 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcfa View Post

The general issue is that there's the false belief education gets better when one just throws enough money and thechnology at it, when back in the times of ink wells, chalk and blackboards people got an education most just can dream about today.

I'm sure e.g. spelling correction on the iPads does wonders to kids ability to master their language...

Also yet to be seen how healthy it is to stare for hours on actively lit screens both in classroom and out, as compared with eye friendly paper or even e-ink (if it absolutely has to be electronic books)

Not that iPads can't help improving certain aspects of education, like e.g. tracking where a supposedly called-in sick kid is by using "find my iPad" and holding parents responsible, but the iPads by themselves will not solve what's fundamentally broken in the US education system.

I sure don't see any problem with the school district stalking my kids¡

Otherwise great post.
post #20 of 57

i do not see the logic in giving students iPads.  A Chrome Book would make more sense IMO.  Basically the kids need acess to the internet, Google Docs would let them write reports, term papers, create presentations, spreadsheets, etc...  Sure you can still hack the Chrome Book to run Linux but having a keyboard on a dirt cheap device for kids who are going to loose, break, have stolen, etc... an IPad is not what they really need.

post #21 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post
 

Lots of things run over budgets in this country.  ( Wars, Constructions etc... )

While it is good to stay within budget, education is not a bad thing to spend money on.  

Apple should help them as much as possible because it is important that this program succeeds in a big way.

 

This program will pay off in the long term and without a doubt greatly improve education for a lot of kids who would never have had the opportunity otherwise, not to mention many adults who did not have the opportunity as children.

 

The trick now is to maximize the learning and the communication for everyone.  LA must take full advantage of the system by finding innovative ways to put the iPads to use for children and adults for their tax money. Apple can help a lot with iCloud.  Life in the entire community can be greatly improved by this.

 

Time will tell.

Wars, i.e. defending the country is a requirement of the federal government under the Constitution.  Department of Education is not.  Kids don't need an iPad to learn.  They need good teachers and good family values at home to encourage their development.  An iPad accomplishes neither.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post

Maybe the contract was written in English, so school admin officials did not really understand the fundamental terms

Like the very basic one of having to meet a volume target to get a discount

I know, it's so complicated

I was thinking it was written in cursive.  ;-)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyHo View Post

I get a chuckle out of those that would have Apple "cut the district some slack" since Apple has so much cash. How in the world is Apple in any way the bad guy and why would you imply they hold responsibility here?

LAUSD entered in the best possible contract negotiating big discounts. LAUSD took advantage of Apple with aggressive educational pricing and wrangled further discounts, 3-year warranty, covers, free Apple TVs and training. WTH??

IT'S NOT APPLE'S RESPONSIBILITY TO DO LAUSD'S BUDGETS FOR THEM.

Lastly, I love the budget mishaps. Some dude used $650 price which they got out of thin air, then after the signed the contract, no one ever though to verify and reconcile the actual pricing of the iPads which are either $770 or $678, but not $650.

LAUSD, this is your problem. Step up, use this to your advantage and give Apple some slack in the form of air cover. Tell the world that Apple is a good, upstanding company and had nothing to do with the budget mishap.

In government speak $100 is a rounding error.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bullhead View Post
 

i do not see the logic in giving students iPads.  A Chrome Book would make more sense IMO.  Basically the kids need acess to the internet, Google Docs would let them write reports, term papers, create presentations, spreadsheets, etc...  Sure you can still hack the Chrome Book to run Linux but having a keyboard on a dirt cheap device for kids who are going to loose, break, have stolen, etc... an IPad is not what they really need.

I go back and forth on this one.  I'd love to see everyone using Apple products however Chrome Books are definitely more bang for the buck.  If its really about "educating the children" it shouldn't matter what technology is used.  Having iPads seems more like bragging rights than solving an educational issue.  Neither Chrome Books or iPads are going to last very long in that environment, why not go for the considerably cheaper solution?

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post #22 of 57
I'm dubious about the value of iPads in education. Sorry, but I just don't get the value proposition.
post #23 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
 

 

Does not compute.

 

Buying the iPads is good. Going grossly over budget is not.

 

They are only over budget for the pilot. They get the money back when they buy the agreed upon volume of units. It should not be a surprise to anyone that you have to actually buy in bulk to get a discount. Well, everyone except LAUSD. 

post #24 of 57

That is just the way it works in government budgeting. They knew it was going to go over budget but if they asked for the true cost of the project, it would be rejected so they make up a number that is substantially lower just to get it passed. Then later they ask for more money due to cost overrun. Sort of like the saying: "It is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."

 

Same thing with the California high speed rail project. I'd expect that budget to triple before they break ground,

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post #25 of 57

They’re over budget. Yep.

 

An utterly incompetent IT department bought too much of something… then were too stupid to manage the device properly, leading to an effing RECALL, and then redistribution, wasting time, money, and harming education.

 

But no, it’s Apple’s fault they’re over budget.

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post #26 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

They’re over budget. Yep.

...

 

Bureaucracies (entities that spend other peoples money and don't produce it themselves as a result of their decisions) never get a budget correct.  So, what more do any of us expect anyway.  Everything is proceeding normally. Normally means, when they mess up, they blame someone else...it is never their fault.

post #27 of 57

Wait till kids start getting jacked for their iPads. It happened in our school district to the point the schools had to take them away from the kids then re-issue them for in school use only.

post #28 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayz View Post

Yup, Apple is swimming in cash, so I hope exercise a little leniency in return for good press.

I disagree. I don't want Apple donating products unless they are getting a direct material benefit for their efforts (tax write off, for example).

If they were to foolishly "make an exception" here, there's no telling where it would end.

Apple is a business, not a charity.

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post #29 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacITGuy View Post

Wait till kids start getting jacked for their iPads.

 

What does that mean?  I understand "hijack" and "carjack" but "getting jacked" isn't a colloquialism with which I am familiar.

post #30 of 57
This doesn't bode well for our children, when the school district itself can't do basic math.
post #31 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

What does that mean?  I understand "hijack" and "carjack" but "getting jacked" isn't a colloquialism with which I am familiar.

No, that is indeed a thing. If someone gets "jacked" it's generally understood that it means something was stolen.

How old are you?

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post #32 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullhead View Post

i do not see the logic in giving students iPads.  A Chrome Book would make more sense IMO.  Basically the kids need acess to the internet, Google Docs would let them write reports, term papers, create presentations, spreadsheets, etc...  Sure you can still hack the Chrome Book to run Linux but having a keyboard on a dirt cheap device for kids who are going to loose, break, have stolen, etc... an IPad is not what they really need.

Google is coming out with Google Play for Education sometime in the next few weeks. Already in testing.
http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/08/move-over-ipad-here-comes-google-play-for-education/
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post #33 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

I believe that iPads can be a great asset to education, and I wish that such devices existed back when I was a kid in school. It sure beats carrying around a bunch of heavy, old books, with obscene scribbles all over the pages.

 

This story isn't really about iPads at all though. The takeaway that I get from the story is that this is simply yet another example of gross incompetence, extreme negligence and the potential criminal misuse and waste of taxpayer dollars, perpetrated by clueless and lazy bureaucrats working for an inept and amateurish government, where there is practically no accountability for anything.

 

I agree with you. It's about incompetence in the school system not the value of iPads as teaching aides. Everything I've read says the iPad improves learning thru the whole spectrum of Autistic kids to Medical Students.

 

I also have to agree with AndrewB26 that I'm sure there are abuses where kids are just messing about on them...but that can and has to be managed by adults, parents and teachers.

 

TV, video arcades were in the same boat as were the cell phones/texting prior to the iPhone and as video games are too. Don't forget about GameBoys and PC's in the child's room.

post #34 of 57
Something tells me that the articles facts are a tad off. Like how they imply that Apple reneged on a volume discount because they weren't buying enough at a time. Apple has every reason to want this to succeed so they aren't likely to be like 'hey you can have a discount but only on after you pay full price on the first X units'

The cost overage is likely from the cases (which may not have been considered in the original price math) or infrastructure changes needed at some schools etc that weren't thought of at the time. Or even the whole pullback when the kiddies figured out how to kill the MDM. They may have had to buy new product to solve that. And then there was what materials the kids were using during that time.

Lots of reasons other than Apple connected stuff that could have caused it to run over
Edited by charlituna - 10/25/13 at 10:49am

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post #35 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewb123 View Post

I would hope that they already had a comprehensive plan to add value to their curriculum with demonstrably tangible results before deciding to blow a BILLION dollars on iPads. If the kids just end up dicking around with them, the money would have been better spent on more teachers and scanners to catch kids carrying guns/knives.

1. The money is from a bond agreement voted and approved by LA tax payers for educational tech. If they don't spend it on something like this they legally can't spend it on salaries or non tech related building maintenance/improvements. Not without a vote from the taxpayers and they could vote to end the bond.

2. The issue of kids 'dicking around' is why the MDM was out in place and many folks around here cried foul over that, saying it was better to let the kids do whatever when they aren't on campus. To restrict them is to stifle their freedom of speech, learning about things they want that might not be on the schools agenda etc.

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post #36 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

That is just the way it works in government budgeting. They knew it was going to go over budget but if they asked for the true cost of the project, it would be rejected so they make up a number that is substantially lower just to get it passed. Then later they ask for more money due to cost overrun. Sort of like the saying: "It is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."

 

Same thing with the California high speed rail project. I'd expect that budget to triple before they break ground,


And that is different than private business, how?

post #37 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrboba1 View Post


And that is different than private business, how?

Private businesses aren't spending taxpayer money.

Also, businesses go bankrupt. The government ruins the economy.
post #38 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Google is coming out with Google Play for Education sometime in the next few weeks. Already in testing.
http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/08/move-over-ipad-here-comes-google-play-for-education/

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post #39 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrboba1 View Post
 


And that is different than private business, how?

 

In addition to what iaeen said, people in private business get fired for incompetence like this.

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post #40 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewb123 View Post

 

I would hope that they already had a comprehensive plan to add value to their curriculum with demonstrably tangible results before deciding to blow a BILLION dollars on iPads. If the kids just end up dicking around with them, the money would have been better spent on more teachers and scanners to catch kids carrying guns/knives.

 

I've got two kids with me from Japan, studying in English because their (wealthy top international surgeon) father believes they will have better opportunities in working life if fluent in English. They're on school vacation right now, but if they could drag themselves away from dicking with their iPads to actually learn something for just five minutes perhaps they'd stand a chance. As it looks to me, they waste too much time playing trivial games and will fail their exams miserably.

 

Children today don't need any encouragement to cling onto whatever electronic device they are obsessed with and waste the days away. Dishing them out in school is lunacy. We need to 'de-normalize' this obsession with gadgets.



Thank you for the well-thought out comment. Technology is by far NOT the most important piece of education. Used properly, it can be leveraged to students' advantage, but it's at least as likely, from what I've seen, to be misused and a drag on education instead. Lots of thought needs to be put into how, where, when and why these devices are used, and unfortunately, most educators don't have the cross-domain knowledge to understand all the pieces to this puzzle.

I did see the later comment as well, about the funds being designated for technology. Understood. But regardless of that, there should have been a small pilot program in just one or two of each level of school (elementary, middle, high) where these devices were going to be used in BEFORE spending hundreds of millions of dollars. Really stupid on the part of the district.
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