It seemed like a great idea, IPADS FOR EVERYONE! The kids wouldn’t have to drag around all the heavy, expensive textbooks. Students would each be assigned an IPAD and a key to the scholastic content for their school, teacher and subject. Seemed reasonable enough. The cost of paper textbooks is enormous and it also is very hard on the students to cart around heavy books every day. How many times have we needed a book for homework that was left at school or needed a book for classwork that was left at home? Where do we sign up for our new IPAD? Sorry, the program has been delayed.
After watching the previous several decades of Beaudry building bureaucratic buffoonery, I knew there had to be a catch. When I spoke with other parents and teachers on local campuses, all I heard was that teachers were being given pink slips while nurses and librarians were seeing their hours reduced to PART TIME because of budget cuts.
Where is the money for all these IPADS coming from, I wondered?
OF COURSE, it was CONSTRUCTION BOND money used to pay the 500 million tab for these expensive devices. Even as the school district had other vital needs like nurses and librarians being left unfunded, they paid APPLE millions of taxpayer dollars for this problematic program.
The funds came from STATE BOND PROP BB, K and several other initiatives approved by the taxpayers for building and upgrading Los Angeles Unified District schools. After years of neglect and budget cuts, the districts overdue maintenance was finally going to get what it has needed, MONEY! This LONG term BOND initiative generated 2.4 BILLION dollars for the LAUSD. But this money had to be used for construction, maintenance and upgrades of the school district’s campuses. It was supposed to build new schools and upgrade existing ones by using long term debt that would be repaid over the next 40 years.
When the taxpayers approved several long-term BOND initiatives, I wondered if the dysfunctional bureaucrats of the LAUSD would be holding the enormous purse strings for the 2.4 BILLION dollar fund. When the overblown campus plans and huge consultant fees started to roll in, corruption naturally followed. There were scandals of inappropriate uses and oversight committees assigned to watch the costs. Now more than a decade later, we have new campuses but not the teachers, programs and curriculum to adequately staff them. Still, having "state of the art" Wi-Fi installed throughout the district will endure the future school needs, the IPADS, not so much.
The construction funds have been used to upgrade 660 existing campuses and build more than 20 new schools that expand services and ease overcrowding within the Los Angeles school district. However, the debt for this money will stretch into the 2043 school year, long after these IPADS are obsolete and abandoned in a landfill.