updated 03:02 pm EST, Wed January 15, 2014
Controversial program to grow by $115 million
The Los Angeles Board of Education has announced plans to expand its distribution of iPads to 38 more campuses before state testing begins this spring, according to the Los Angeles Times. The tablets will be given to students, teachers, and administrative staff; the Unified School District is also set to equip seven high schools with laptops.
In all the new proposal should cost taxpayers and the District $115 million. The number of iPads the District can buy for testing is unlimited, but the Board expects the number to stay under 67,500. During the testing phase, iPads will be shared by classes for a period of six weeks.
Each iPad currently costs the District $768, a fee that includes not just the hardware but apps and support. Officials are trying to negotiate the fee down by $200 or $300, though, for devices used solely in testing. Apple has meanwhile agreed to loosen another term of the contract, which initially locked the District into buying older iPads, but will now provide the latest hardware.
The iPad program has not been without controversy. Some people have questioned the value of having tablets in the first place, and the program quickly went over-budget, owing to bad estimates on the cost per device. Students also discovered ways to work around content restrictions, and in reaction the District blocked students from taking iPads home.