Money

Apple Closes $30-Million Deal with LA Unified School District

| by Amanda Schallert
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Many students in the Los Angeles Unified School District will see iPads in their classrooms come fall after the Board of Education voted unanimously to confirm a $30 million contract with Apple Inc. on Tuesday.

The board’s decision sets the school district on a course to pay Apple hundreds of millions of dollars in the next two years with the goal of providing every student in the district with an iPad by 2014, according to USA Today.

For now, according to the LA Times, the iPad — and only the iPad — is set to hit 47 campuses in the district next school year, despite complaints from Microsoft representatives that the board should consider piloting multiple products and not limit student options to one form of tablet.

But Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Jaime Aquino and other district staff said the iPad was the highest quality of the products considered and received the highest ratings from students and teachers. 

The staff also noted the importance of choosing one product to maintain uniformity across the schools for students who might switch campuses.

Multiple school officials left the boardroom before the vote because they held stock in Apple.

Richard Vladovic, a member of the board, said he was concerned the board did not fully understand the costs of the contract, which surpass the base cost of $30 million. 

At $678 a tablet — which includes educational software in its programs — the price per student in the country’s second largest school district will run high. Additionally, the likelihood students will break numerous iPads, combined with a three-year warranty for free tablet replacement up to only 5 percent of the purchase, might leave the district with significant costs to face in the future.

About 10 million iPads already reside in schools worldwide.

Sources: LA Times, USA Today