A lawmaker from a wealthy Inland Empire suburb wants to prevent the L.A. Unified School District from spending construction money on its controversial program to put iPads in the hands of every student.
The district argues that the voter-approved bond money includes technology allowances, and it notes that half of the $1 billion earmarked for the iPad program will actually go to installing or upgrading wi-fi for all schools.
Curt Hagman, a Republican state assemblyman from Chino Hills, announced his bill over the weekend:]
His office says the proposal, AB 1754, …
… will protect taxpayer dollars by prohibiting school construction bond funds from being used to purchase non-facility related items with a short usable life, such as iPads.
It's an interesting juxtaposition: A politician from a wealthy suburb is trying to tell America's second-largest school district it can't use bond money for “instructional materials.” (God bless the child that's got his own).
The assemblyman also referenced Prop. 13, the disastrous public giveaway to landowners that allows, for example, people to live in multimillion-dollar homes without paying today's tax rate on them. This, of course, robs urban public schools of money.
But Hagman's constituents don't go to those schools anyway. His office explained his take on this:
Passed by voters in 1978, Proposition 13 stated that property taxes could only be raised above 1% of the property value if the proceeds were used to pay for school facilities and if 2/3 of the voters approved. Proposition 39 (2000) lowered the approval threshold to 55%. Recently the Los Angeles Unified School District used funds from a school construction bond to purchase thousands of iPads, rather than invest in school facilities. AB 1754 would prevent such misuse of taxpayer dollars.
It's not clear to us if this bill – it probably doesn't have a chance in the Democratically controlled state legislature – would be binding for the LAUSD, since the district has already started writing checks for its iPad program.
But Hagman said this:
It is important that construction bond money be used for school facilities, and not for things like iPads … AB 1754 follows the spirit of Proposition 13 by protecting taxpayer dollars from being misused.