LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Unified School District considered changes to its problematic iPad initiative Tuesday.
KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports school board members, along with teachers and students, discussed everything from curriculum and keyboards to infrastructure and electricity during a special meeting on the $1 billion plan.
LAUSD Deputy Superintendent Jaime Aquino recommended the school board extend the timeline for the district-wide iPad rollout that would put tablets on all LAUSD campuses to fall 2015 rather than the original target date of 2014.
The recommendation comes following a series of missteps in the rollout, including more than 300 students at three of the first campuses to receive iPads hacking the devices to gain access to restricted websites. A handful of iPads have also gone missing.
“What we learned was that our plan…was really ambitious,” Aquino said. “There are going to be tweaks.”
The plan, approved in June, aims to equip all 650,000 LAUSD students with the $700 tablets.
The rollout has hit major snags, including a more expensive price tag and the unexpected need for keyboards.
“We will be working with the company (Apple) to increase the levels of security,” Superintendent John Deasy told KNX 1070. “We don’t want students on websites that are inappropriate and we don’t want them getting access to places where there might be predators. That is the purpose of the security.”
There have also been reports of potential conflicts of interest. At Tuesday’s meeting, the superintendent, the district’s general counsel and one board member were excluded because they have now or have recently owned stock in Apple.
“I say we’ve got a very well-defined process and people are required to identify if there’s any potential conflict. Those were identified well early in the process and they were isolated from the selection process,” said LAUSD Chief Facilities Executive Mark Hovatter.
Hovatter said Apple was chosen because unbiased district experts rated it as the top performer and it was the least expensive of the three final contenders.
Former school board member David Tokofsky, however, isn’t convinced Apple iPads are the district’s best option.
“There are always different ways to accomplish a goal,” he said.
Southland Assemblyman Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills) has called for an investigation into the purchase of the iPads.