Who pays for LAUSD’s broken or stolen iPads?

Who pays for LAUSD’s broken or stolen iPads?

the Net movie posterI’ve written a couple of things on the Los Angeles Unified School District’s gift of iPads to its students. In July, I predicted the kids would “jailbreak” the iPads. They did.

Remember, these iPads are costing taxpayers $1 billion. That’s 1/7th what the Proposition 30 tax increase is bringing in this year.

But who pays if the iPads are lost or stolen, which will happen often? The Times asked:

“The question emerged after revelations that 300 or so students at Roosevelt High School skirted security measures on the device and visited unauthorized websites. In response, the district suspended all home use of the Apple tablets, which have gone out to about two dozen schools so far.

“Ultimately, officials want the iPads used at home — that’s considered a key element of their educational value.”

But if the iPads go home, the kids will jailbreak them. It’s just the way of things. When Bill Gates was in high school, back in the early 1970s, he “jailbroke” the school’s primitive computer system to assign himself seats next to cute girls.

The only thing that has changed is the power of the computer systems. The kids always will find ways to jailbreak any system. I don’t know how to do it. And I don’t even have an iPad. But no doubt there are Web sites with instructions.

The cost

“But their dollar value also became a concern at a meeting Wednesday of a district committee overseeing technology efforts. Senior district officials acknowledged that they haven’t decided on consequences if the $700 iPads are lost or broken.

“‘It’s extremely disconcerting that the parent and student responsibility issue has not been hammered out, and that different parents and students received different information during the rollout,’ said Board of Education member Monica Ratliff, who chaired the meeting.”

Although privat- sector companies mess up too and lose money, usually they would have thought of the cost, and potential loss, early on in the process. Companies that stay stupid too long go broke. Not government. Mistakes are made up with tax increases.

Then there’s the problem of parents’ ability to pay. A lot of these kids’ families are poor. That’s why they need to be given the iPads, instead being asked to buy them in the first place. How will the money be extracted from the parents?

What will be the role of the Los Angeles School Police Department — a gigantic department within the school district? The LASPD’s actual mission statement (all caps in original): “THE MISSION OF THE LOS ANGELES SCHOOL POLICE DEPARTMENT IS TO ASSIST STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS AND OTHER STAFF IN PROVIDING A SAFE AND TRANQUIL ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS CAN TAKE PLACE.”

The LASPD even gets support from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division. So the LASPD could use the LAPD-ASD’s helicopters to track down the LAUSD’s lost iPads, using Apple’s “Find My iPhone, iPad and Mac” feature.

Finally, if a family won’t pay for a lost or stolen iPad, will the LASPD arrest and imprison them, as it does in cases of truancy? (See page 9 of this LAUSD PowerPoint, screen shot below.)

Truancy LAUSD


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  1. BigFire
    BigFire 26 September, 2013, 14:57

    The purpose of LAUSD (and for that matter, any bureaucracy)is to perpetuate itself. If any kids actually get educated, that’s just some happy side benefit but not the reason for its existence. Jerry Pournelle postulated this way back in the 70s when he was describing NASA. Look up Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

    Reply this comment
  2. oldRN
    oldRN 26 September, 2013, 16:43

    Why in the world does the LAUSD need it’s own police force? That’s a budget cut that could get more money to the classroom. Let LAPD and LA Sheriff fill that role.

    Reply this comment
  3. George Buzzetti
    George Buzzetti 5 October, 2013, 16:48

    First, in the Jaime Aquino Feb. 12, 2013 power point there are 5 different prices from $1,598 to $200 with a 5 year guarantee. How in 2-4 weeks does it go from no more than $200 with a 5 year guarantee to the board approved $1,000 each with a 3 year guarantee with the financial differences and no difference in performance, in fact, the iPad only has 32GB and my old cheap laptop with a nice screen and real keyboard has 220 GB. Someone obviously has a bought and sold purchaser. Prior to the Feb. 12 power point the Citizens Bond Oversight, or money give away, Committee approved $1,598 each. What were they thinking of as in the test schools of the 40 only 8 did not have Apple products. How is this a test? Joke time.

    Now when the author says they can be put in jail and that these laws apply I don’t think he knows what he is talking about. Obviously, he does not know of the pages of documents, which have been hidden, relating to this going back to 2001. Know before you speak is a good thing to follow. By the way, it is illegal at this time to take them off campus and they sign to have the teacher pick them up at the end of day so how did they get off campus and the training required was not given. The district is libel for this. The “Bomb” on this will be dropped next week and then a lot will be running for the hills and isolation.

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