Settlement over iPad software could net Los Angeles district $6.4 million

Settlement over iPad software could net Los Angeles district $6.4 million

Proposed settlement stems from aborted plan to provide every student with a tablet computer. 

The Los Angeles school system will recoup $6.4 million from two companies if a tentative settlement is approved in connection with educational software that the district bought, but barely used.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the settlement, which pertains to educational software from Pearson, calls for Apple to pay the district $4.2 million and for Lenovo, to lower its bill by $2.2 million for recently purchased equipment. The settlements are with the computer companies because Pearson was a subcontractor in the companies' purchasing agreements with the district.

The deal is the latest fallout from the Los Angeles Unified District's aborted plan to provide an iPad to every student, teacher and campus administrator in the 655,000-student district. Problems with the rollout persuaded the school board to back away from the goal of providing the tablet devices to every student; in the aftermath, superintendent John Deasy resigned under pressure.

An FBI investigation into the bidding process that led to the original computer contract is continuing.

The deal with Apple was reached in June 2013, and the agreement with Lenovo came later, after the district decided to include devices from other manufacturers and to slow down a technology rollout that was beset with problems.

In selling computers to Los Angeles Unified, both Apple and Lenovo incorporated software from Pearson, which was supposed to provide all the math and English instruction for the school system. The contract with Apple allowed Pearson to provide a sample of instructional units during the first year of a three-year license, which added about $200 to the cost of each computer.

Training on the devices and the curriculum was limited, and teachers never embraced the software. The district also said the software was marred by technical glitches. Pearson has defended the quality of work and says that other school systems continue to use its online courses.

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