Union Calls for Investigation Into LAUSD iPad Program

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy faces tough questions from critics about the district's $1 billion iPad program

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The LAUSD's $1 billion iPad program is under review after critics questioned whether the contract was rigged.

    Los Angeles Unified School District Superindentent John Deasy was in the hot seat on Tuesday at a school board meeting, facing questions as to whether the district's problematic iPad program was somehow rigged.

    That program has now been stopped but critics are calling for an investigation.

    "I meet with vendors all the time and so I should, I should always know what is available," Deasy said in an exclusive interview Tuesday with NBC4.

    As revealed by our news partner KPCC, Deasy's meetings and emails with Apple and education software maker Pearson appeared to help them win the bidding process to provide pre-loaded iPads to students.

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    Responding to accusations that funds were being wasted on iPads for students while school buildings go without repairs, the LAUSD sent maintenance crews to inspect an LA high school on Thursday. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Feb. 6, 2014. (Published Thursday, Feb 6, 2014)

    After an outcry, Deasy announced the Apple contract was cancelled, that the district would seek new bids for computing devices, and review complaints about the iPad program.

    "I would rather see the money go to teachers rather than ipads," said Patty Flores, a parent of LAUSD graduates.

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    The teachers and parents behind the Facebook page, "Repairs Not iPads," which documents decaying LAUSD schools, held a press conference Wednesday to express their frustrations toward the district. Robert Kovacik reports from Westlake for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Published Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014)

    Deasy insists he did nothing improper -- that the communications were part of a pilot program to test the iPads.

    But the president of the teacher's union is skeptical.

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    "The timing doesn't quite work out on that explanation," said Alex Caputo-Pearl, the president of United Teachers Los Angeles. "That's why we're demanding a full and thorough investigation of all that email chain and the procurement process."

    Only a fraction of iPads have been given out in a $1 billion program that's now come to a halt.

    Deasy calls it a pause.

    "We've had good critical feedback and what we, what I have decided to do is say that we can always make it better."

    Critics are also questioning why the iPad money came from school construction bonds.

    The teachers union argues it would have been better spent on repairs.

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