- Associated Press - Friday, August 22, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A $1 billion plan by the Los Angeles school district to provide iPads to all students was beset by poor planning and a flawed bidding process, according to an internal district report.

The draft analysis concludes the Los Angeles Unified School District needlessly limited its options on price and product and raises questions about whether the bidding process was fair, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday (https://lat.ms/1ohTdKO ).

The initial rules for winning the contract appeared to be tailored to the products of the eventual winners - Apple Inc. and vendor Pearson Education - rather than reflecting district needs, according to the internal report.

In addition, key changes to the bidding rules were made after most of the competition had been eliminated under the original specifications, the report said.

The committee review stops short of accusing anyone of wrongdoing but offers a carefully worded rebuke of the districtwide iPad rollout that began last fall at 47 schools.

The devices and the accompanying curriculum have been paid for with voter-approved school construction bonds.

In addition to detailing problems with the rollout, the report also applauds the goals and potential benefits of the technology push.

The report also found that past comments or associations with vendors, including by Los Angeles schools Superintendent John Deasy, created an appearance of conflict even if no ethics rules were violated.

Deasy told the Times he could not comment on issues raised in the report until he had read it. He added that he has not received a copy.

The much-anticipated analysis is drawn from public and closed meetings held over 10 months by a committee chaired by school board member Monica Ratliff.

That panel - composed of parents, employee representatives and district officials - heard presentations, posed questions and gathered documents from experts and officials. Ratliff directed that the report remain confidential until committee members could provide input.

The Times obtained it from sources who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to release it.


Information from: Los Angeles Times, https://www.latimes.com

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