updated 10:42 am EDT, Fri October 25, 2013
School district has yet to meet order threshold for promised discount
The Los Angeles Unified School District is running well over budget in its plan to equip 47 schools with iPads, the Los Angeles Times reports. The program was originally budgeted for $50 million, but this was based on an early iPad pricing estimate putting each tablet at $650; in all $20.3 million was budgeted for iPads, the rest going to needed training and infrastructure. When the program was formally announced this summer iPad pricing had already crept up to $678, and budget disclosures now reveal that the District is actually paying about $770 per device, adding another $4 million to the program's cost.
The trouble is that the USD will only be eligible for the $678 pricetag from Apple once it spends $400 million, the equivalent of 520,000 iPads. The current pilot initiative calls for just 31,000 iPads. The District is eventually expected to reach the $400 million mark, which will bring costs back in line.
Although a 9.7-inch Pad starts at $399 at retail, the school is paying more per unit in order to cover the costs of cases, training, three-year warranties, and one Apple TV for every 20 students.
The program has been controversial since the beginning, mostly because of concerns about whether or not such a massive investment in gadgets was the best use of the money. In September, though, some students discovered how to bypass security restrictions on the iPads, giving them the freedom to browse any website. In response, the District banned students from taking the tablets home, and some schools confiscated the tablets until they could find a way of reimposing barriers.