Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, Tim Cook, and Eddy CueSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine are funding Audubon Middle School to help kids get an education.
  • The amount of money provided hasn't been confirmed, but the pair will spend "whatever it takes."

Two former(ish) Apple employees say they will "spend whatever it takes" to fund Audubon Middle School – a new project that builds on an existing campus that's running at a third of its capacity. An influx of cash and prestige could well see that change soon enough.

Oh, and you might have heard of the employees in question – Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. While Iovine left Apple a while ago, there's been no such announcement about Dre. He's probably somewhere, doing something. But I doubt employees see him wandering the halls of Apple Park very often.

As reported by the LA Times, the two music industry powerhouses have already plowed $70 million into a similar project, but now they're starting a new public high school with seemingly no limit to the budget at hand.

The two music-industry moguls settled on Audubon as the place to start a new public high school, which will mirror the format of a USC academy that launched in 2013, catalyzed with their $70 million donation. The amount of money for the Audubon project is uncertain, but Iovine and Dr. Dre say they will spend whatever it takes.

There are many reasons why Aubudon was selected as the school that Dre and Iovine would become involved with, although the sheer size of it and the room to grow were both seen as positives by the pair.

The campus had much they liked, fundamentally its location in a low-income community of color. But there were other positives, Hardemion said, including a stand-alone 1920s-era classroom building, with solid architectural bones and sturdy wooden cabinets, as well as a renovated, distinctive auditorium — and plenty of space. Audubon enrolls about 460 sixth- through eighth-grade students on a campus that can easily accommodate 1,500. In peak enrollment years, around 2002, the school had more than 2,300 students.

A decline in enrollment since the early 2000s has seen the number of students roaming the halls of the school dwindle, and that's something that could well change in the future. Black middle-class families have reportedly chosen to send their children to other schools of late, but an influx of cash could make Audubon a more attractive proposition for parents. That will have its own problems, including a need to work out how to create a new enrollment process.

At last week's board meeting, staff suggested that applicants would have to write an essay and submit a video, which would be evaluated as a special pre-qualification in the regular magnet-school application process.

As with other magnets, if a program is oversubscribed, students are accepted based on a complicated point system, including, for example, whether a student's ethnicity would promote integration or whether a neighborhood school is overcrowded.

You can learn much more about the project in the LA Times piece and it's well worth a read, especially if you happen to be local.

Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine both joined Apple when the company bought Beats. Despite that, Beats were never the best headphones for iPhone users, although the recent Beats Studio Buds release might change that.