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Despite threats to LAUSD's budget, Superintendent John Deasy says he wants to equip students and teachers with tablet computers by the next school year. Patrick Healy reports from the NBC4 Newsroom for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on August 9, 2012.
Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy wants to give a tablet computer to every student -- and every educator -- in the nation's second-largest school district by the next school year.
In a traditional annual address to administrators before classes start up in the new academic year, Deasy said Thursday that he wanted LAUSD to prepare the district's 650,000-plus students for the future.
"I am committed to working with this amazing Board of Education for finding a way to place a tablet in the hands of every student and school staff member ... in the next 15 months," Deasy said.
His plan got applause from the 1,000 or so principals and other administrators gathered in the auditorium at Washington Preparatory High School in the unincorporated area of Westmont, near South LA.
It was one line in an upbeat speech from Deasy, who focused on the accomplishments of the district, which has been beleaguered by years of state budget cuts and recent scandals over alleged teacher sex abuse.
Deasy asked for a moment of silence for those in the school district community who have died over the past year, and for victims of abuse.
He noted rising test scores and graduation rates, as well as declining missed days and suspension rates for students. He discussed implementation of the new Common Core State Standards, part of national effort to create shared standards for public education.
The school district had a $390 million shortfall budget in its $6 billon budget this year that was partially closed by an agreement from employee unions to take five furlough days and five additional unpaid days in the current year.
Details of Deasy's tablet computer plans were unavailable immediately from the district's media office.
But the superintendent and Board of Education President Monica Garcia said the money would come from leftover funds in $20 billion in voter-approved bonds that have funded construction for 129 out of 130 planned new schools.
"It is the next phase," Garcia said. "Do we have to have a conversation about how will we pay for it, and where is the money? Absolutely. But we do spend money every year."
Bond funds cannot be used for day-to-day operations such as teacher salaries.
The Daily News reported Saturday that a district official said Deasy has been lobbying tech companies to donate tablets or netbooks by 2013-14.
Locally, the one-tablet-per-student concept has been pioneered among public schools in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District. That South Bay district wants the majority of its students' tablets to be paid for by families, the Daily Breeze has reported. The district serves a largely wealthy population in the seaside city.
The iPad or tablet learning model is not uncommon at private schools.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed a direct quote to Deasy when in fact the statement was paraphrased. The quote has since been corrected.