LA Schools to Apple: Give Us Back Our Money

The Los Angeles Unified School District wants Apple to refund the money it paid into a US$1.3 billion deal to put iPads into the hands of its students and teachers. The district broke the contract last year amid controversy over ties between the former superintendent, Apple, and Pearson Education.

LA school district backed out of iPad contract and now wants its money backLA school district backed out of iPad contract and now wants its money back

Current Superintendent Ramon Cortines said, "I don't believe we can afford a device for every student," according to the LA Times. "Education shouldn't become the gimmick of the year."

The school district signed a deal with Apple and Pearson under former superintendent John Deasy in early 2013 to assign iPads to all students, faculty, and administrators as a learning tool. The deal was quickly criticized because district didn't put a plan in place on exactly how the iPads would be used.

By October, Mr. Deasy became the focus of the controversy when accusations that he may have used his close ties with Apple and Pearson to make the deal come together. He ultimately resigned, opening the door for the new superintendent, Mr. Cortines, to take over.

School officials announced they were breaking the deal in June 2014 and would open up a new bidding process that included tablets and laptops from other companies. In December, the FBI launched its own investigation into the deal and ultimately seized 20 boxes filled with related documents.

The iPad program was seen as a failure—and rightly so—because there wasn't ever a true plan in place on how they would be used, and because it was shrouded in controversy.

It's unclear how many iPads had been delivered through the program, so just how much money the school district wants back from Apple is up in the air.