Bell High School students at an after school programming club.
An audit of the Los Angeles Unified School District's computer inventory reveals 230 devices worth nearly $200,000 have been stolen or are missing - and school officials can't account for another 3,105 laptops, desktops and iPads.
"The district did not have a complete, adequate and centralized inventory record of all of its computers," reads the July 29, 2014 report by the school district's Inspector General, Ken Bramlett.
Bramlett also criticizes officials for failing to keep track of who is getting the devices and tracking them when they're transferred to different schools or employees. He said school administrators were ignoring inventory rules and recommends the district complete a physical inventory.
The report comes just as controversy surrounding the district's one-to-one technology program reaches new heights over questions about the fairness of the bidding process.
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The inspector general of the Los Angeles Unified School Distict is reopening an investigation into the purchase of iPads and Pearson software based on findings in a KPCC investigation into communication between district officials and those companies nearly a year ahead of a public bid.
Ken Bramlett, the Inspector General for L.A. Unified, led an investigation into the district’s competitive bid earlier this year, but told KPCC Wednesday afternoon the early emails were not part of his office’s initial probe.
After reviewing more than 1,000 internal emails over several days, KPCC found Superintendent John Deasy and his staff communicated closely with executives at Pearson about purchasing learning software under development for the iPad.
The emails show the officials detailed aspects of a one-to-one student technology program, down to the specifics of tech support and teacher training. A year later, the requirements for proposals resembled the package Pearson was selling.
File: Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy speaks during a press conference at South Region High School #2 in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 2012.
Los Angeles Unified school board member Monica Ratliff formally released a report that was leaked to media last week, outlining concerns about the district's iPad project.
The report was released during the first public school board meeting of the school year.
Ratliff and school board member Tamar Galatzan engaged in a heated back and forth over Ratliff's decision to require a lengthy confidentiality agreement before allowing board members and district staffers to view the draft report. The report was leaked to KPCC and the Los Angeles Times before she had reviewed it.
The meeting started more than two hours late because closed session discussions over negotiations with the teacher's union went long, according to board president Richard Vladovic, and the board severely limited the number of public speakers who could comment on problems with the iPad program.
Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy speaks during a press conference at South Region High School #2 in 2012.
Three days after KPCC published internal emails showing top L.A. Unified officials and executives from Pearson and Apple met and discussed bringing tablet-driven education software to the classroom, the school district announced Monday it will cancel the contract with Apple and Pearson and open its one-to-one technology project to new bids.
Superintendent John Deasy alerted school board members to the change to the Common Core Technology Project in a memo distributed Monday evening and obtained by KPCC. (You can read his full memo, embedded below.)
"Not only will this decision enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances, it will also give us time to take into account concerns raised surrounding the [Common Core Technology Project] and receive new information from the California Department of Education regarding assessments," Deasy wrote.
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Pearson broke its weekend silence Monday and responded to emails obtained by KPCC showing LA Unified and Pearson officials discussing a software purchase ahead of a public bid for the district's massive technology program.
Pearson, the makers of an iPad learning software called "Common Core System of Courses", supported statements reportedly made by Superintendent John Deasy over the weekend claiming the email discussions were limited to a small pilot program. (Deasy has not returned repeated calls by KPCC.)
"Throughout the R&D process, Pearson works closely with subject matter experts, educators, and students from diverse communities," Pearson spokesman Brandon Pinette wrote in a statement. "During the early development of the System of Courses, six schools participated in pilot studies of the curriculum, 2 in Los Angeles, and 4 in Texas."