The FBI seized "20 boxes" of documents from the L.A. Unified School District in an apparent investigation of the system's procurement of iPads that was part of a $1 billion program to get every kid connected to the internet in class and on-the-go, district Superintendent Ramon Cortines said this afternoon.
The Common Core Technology Project was launched under the tenure of former Superintendent John Deasy, who had disclosed that he and a top deputy had contact with Apple and curriculum app company Pearson prior to the purchase of what was supposed to be a half-billion dollars worth of iPads.
In a statement Cortines said that the procurement of iPads for 27 public campuses would be started anew so that "students attending these schools will receive devices under a new contract at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year."
He also said that Chromebook laptops would also be made available to students:
Due to the urgency of allowing our students to prepare for testing in the spring, we will continue with a different contract with Apple to provide iPads and a contract with another vendor, Arey Jones, to provide Chromebooks for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium tests.
An FBI representative did not deny that the document seizure took place but told us no comment would be forthcoming because this was part of an "ongoing investigation."
Deasy's iPad initiative was rife with controversy, from its whopping costs to software glitches to reports that the devices were going missing.
The contract to procure the devices was supposed to be suspended after it was revealed that Deasy had ties to Apple and software executives who benefited from the deal, but that did not appear to happen until Cortines stepped in today with his statement:
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I have decided on the basis of a report from the L.A. Unified Inspector General that identified flaws in the earlier process to restart the procurement of devices.
The Los Angeles Times today was the first to report that the FBI had seized documents as part of the apparent investigation of the district's iPad procurement deal.
In October Deasy, a fairly well-regarded reformer, resigned after the makeup of the school board changed and he found himself in repeated clashes with the elected body.