L.A. schools to receive $6.4 million from botched iPad deal

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iPad Air 2
Hopefully this disastrous chapter is over for all involved.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The long-running disaster that was the Los Angeles Unified School District scheme to provide iPads to every student, teacher and campus administrator is apparently over — with Apple among the companies agreeing to pay out a $6.4 million settlement.

The tentative payout is hopefully the last phase in an aborted $1.3-billion plan for the second-largest district in the U.S. to get its hands on new iPads and Pearson educational software.

Under the agreement, Apple will pay out $4.2 million, while the school district will not have to pay the $2.2 million bill it owes Lenovo for laptops featuring the Pearson curriculum.

“That amount of money doesn’t make up for the damage to the district’s reputation or compensate for the amount of time lost by students and educators in this misbegotten project,” said Scott Folsom, a member of the independent committee which oversees school modernization and construction bonds.

By paying out $6.4 million, Apple and Pearson won’t have to undergo costly ongoing legal discussions.

This case has been a messy one for all involved — with delays, FBI investigations, missing devices, and students who did receive their devices quickly learning how to hack them in order to access whatever they wanted online. As the LA Times explains of the problems:

“At the time of the [2013] pact with Apple, Pearson was supposed to provide all the math and English curriculum for the school system. The contract with Apple included a three-year license for the Pearson curriculum that added about $200 to the cost of each computer.

During the first year of the license, Pearson provided only sample units of curriculum, rather than a finished product. The contract allowed for the partial curriculum.

Teachers received limited training on the devices. The district later accused Pearson of providing an underwhelming product beset by technical glitches. Consultants concluded that few teachers even used the Pearson software.”

Hopefully all involved can now put this behind them, and figure out a way to move forward.

Provided that the “tentative agreement” does, in fact, turn out to be the end of the line, that is!