The Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed to a $30 million deal with Apple to put iPads into the hands of every student at 47 schools over the next two years. It's the first phase of a larger rollout for the school district, according to Apple.
The iPad deal is a pilot program: the LA Unified School District is the second-largest in the nation, with a total population of over 660,000 students and more than 1,100 schools. This will put iPads in the hands of 35,000 of those students. The iPads will come pre-loaded with iLife, third party educational software and the Pearson Common Core System of Courses, delivered through a new app. The iPads come with three-year warranties, including district-wide allowances for repair and replacement of damaged units.
A unanimous vote from the Board of Education favored Apple despite protestations from Microsoft, which encouraged the school district to avoid a "one-size-fits-all" solution. That idea was dismissed by district staff, contending that Apple offers the better product.
A teachers union representative asked for a delay in the vote and said the money should instead be used to rehire staff, but those pleas fell on deaf ears. The district wants to move ahead with the iPad plan to accommodate future state and federal computer-based testing of students.
The $30 million is being raised through the issuance of school bonds - an unusual move, though not unprecedented. Bond issuances are most often used for major capital projects like new construction.
Apple says that almost 10 million iPads are already in use in schools.
Update [added details about educational software and link to Apple press release.]