Thursday, January 20th, 2011 at 1:46pm

Wow! Lake County School District Purchases 716 iPads for $344,844!

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Stolen iPad from Clermont Middle School

In December, Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C. was contacted by a reader of our newsletter, who said that Principal Bill Miller of Leesburg High School proudly announced that LHS had been awarded $700,000 to improve education, and that LHS had purchased six iPads for school administrators.  In a follow-up email to our group, this concerned citizen said that when he called LHS asking why the iPads were needed, he was told that it would make the administrators “more productive.”

After prodding by this individual, our group made an inquiry to the Lake County School District to find out about the iPads.  Understand this individual is not a school teacher who is complaining about the need for supplies in their classroom; rather, it is a concerned citizen who believes that the money used to purchase six iPads at $500 each would be better used toward classroom supplies, which are in short supply.

We didn’t get a response to our inquiry, so we followed-up; still, no response.  We became suspicious with the silence, so we made a Public Records Request and quickly discovered that more than six iPads were purchased by the Lake County School District.

It seems Lake County received an educational grant through the U.S. government called Enhancing Education through Technology (EETT).  The decision was made by the Lake County School District office to spend some of the money to equip every middle school science class with an iPad for each student to use during class.  We guess that since the district was in an iPad-buying-mood they decided more iPads were needed to make administrators “more productive” so they purchased a total of 716 iPads from Apple Computers for a whopping $344,844.  No wonder Apple just announced record quarterly profits – we bet Apple is where a lot of the Obama stimulus money from across the nation was spent!

According to official Lake County School District records, not all of the money for these iPads came from the EETT grant.  Below is a breakdown of the iPads purchased by Lake County Schools:

  • 600 iPads costing $479 each from EETT grant.
  • 6 iPads costing $499 each from FF&E.
  • 73 iPads costing $479-$499 each from department budgets.
  • 35 iPads costing $499 each from school discretionary budgets.
  • 2 iPads (1 costing $829 and 1 costing $499) from department budgets and idea stimulus.

Click here for the official Lake County list

According to the Lake County IT Department, in October, each middle school science class was given 20 iPads for students to use while in class.  Most of the middle and high schools used their discretionary fund accounts to purchase iPads for school administrators.  Superintendent Dr. Susan Moxley and Nancy Velez were the only administrators in the Lake County School District office to be given iPads; that is, if you don’t include the five school board members.  Yes, each school board member was given an iPad.  We surmise this was a welcoming gift to our new board members so they would see things the district’s way.

We fully support enhanced technology in the classroom.  The Enhancing Education through Technology grant is applauded by many because Lake County received its part of the government dole while others view it as another reason why America is drowning in $14 trillion in debt.  These points are both debatable, and many of you may want to voice your opinion on our website www.lakecountygov.info.

Let’s focus narrowly on the purchase of the iPads.  For anyone who’s ever been around middle school students, most of them could destroy a ten-pound steel ball with a rubber hammer.  To say many middle school students are awkward, clumsy, and simply don’t care about things is a pretty fair statement.  New iPads and iPhones are great technology that show “neat pictures” as a Lake County School District IT person pointed out, but these devices must be handled with extreme care.

Can you imagine after two years how many broken, busted, stolen, and lost iPads Lake County will have to deal with? In fact, 22 iPads have already been stolen during a burglary at Clermont Middle School by kids who wanted to make a quick buck.  According to reports, only eight of the stolen iPads have been recovered.

There are many things wrong with the Lake County School District iPad Program:

  1. iPads are not the correct long-term technology that should have been purchased.  These devices are too fragile for middle school students; desktop devices should have been purchased instead.
  2. With school budgets so tight, and teachers having to use money out of their pockets to purchase classroom supplies, why are school discretionary dollars being spent on iPads for administrators?  This makes no sense, especially since they have phones and desktop computers.  It makes it extremely difficult for the average tax payer to stuff a bus or donate money for supplies needed in the classroom when the county is spending money on iPads for administrators.
  3. The Lake County School District IT Department says 20 of the iPads were purchased to replace broken devices, or those needing repair in the future.  The over-purchase of iPads shows failure in the program because it is an admission the devices won’t withstand the wear and tear of middle school students.  If you were buying desktop computers, would you have purchased 20 extra for failures?  We don’t think so.
  4. More importantly, how much money will be required to keep these devices operational?  We were told that there isn’t any reoccurring monthly maintenance fees, which means Apple will charge to repair all damaged devices.  Understand, Apple’s record profits can also be linked to their proprietary control of repairs and parts – maintenance on the iPads could be a financial nightmare.
  5. Finally, why do school board members and district administrators need these devices?  Supplies are needed in the classroom, not the boardroom.  School board members could get by with a plain ole sheet of paper – save the money for our kids!  Did the school board authorize this expenditure for themselves?

Some may disagree with us, but this is a huge waste of your tax dollars and a terrible reminder of what out-of-control government spending is doing to this nation.  Before we purchase a “want” such as an iPad, the Lake County School District should be covering their “needs.”  You would think purchasing so many that the district would have gotten a break; instead, Lake County Schools contributed to Apple’s record profits.

What do you think about the purchase of 716 iPads by the Lake County School District?  Do you think this technology is needed for middle school students, and is it durable enough?  What do you think the money should have been spent on?  What do you think about issuing grant money to schools when the country is $14 trillion in debt?

If you would like to contact the Lake County School Board members and Superintendent Moxley to ask them these questions, their emails are listed below.

Superintendent – Dr. Susan Moxley:  MoxleyS@lake.k12.fl.us
School Board District 1 – Jim Miller:  MillerJ1@lake.k12.fl.us
School Board District 2 – Rosanne Brandeburg: Brandeburgr@lake.k12.fl.us
School Board District 3 – Tod Howard:  HowardT@lake.k12.fl.us
School Board District 4 – Debbie Stivender:  Stivenderd@lake.k12.fl.us
School Board District 5 – Kyleen Fisher:  FischerK@lake.k12.fl.us

To comment on today’s newsletter and report, go to our website at www.lakecountygov.info and leave your comment.  Please feel free to forward this newsletter to everyone on your email list and help us get the word out by encouraging your friends to sign up.

16 Responses to “Wow! Lake County School District Purchases 716 iPads for $344,844!”

  1. Sarah – with your ” It’s about the education of “us” children.I attend lake “mineolla” high school” remark all the Ipads in the world won’t help you! You need some good old fashioned “three R’s” reading, writing and (a)rithmeticing!

    Oh, but money is the answer to all problems since the LCSB is already broke like the good ole USA- let’s borrow a few more millions and by a few more fix alls before we really hit the bottom of the barrel.

    You say “someone’s going to have to clean up your mess and obviously your to busy acting like thirteen year old girls on their menstrual cycle.thank you have a nice day.p.s grow up.”

    P. S. It was not we the people “per se” who made this mess that put the LCSB $560 MILLION IN BOND DEBT! It was the sitting school board at the time! But, no matter the final solution (probably bankruptcy of the LCSB) it will be we the people who suffer. Most thirteen years old girls would not be “on their menstrual cycle.thank you” if not for pre-puberty sexual stimulation. So, start studing the three R’s instead of the birds and the bee’s for a change!

    Signing off- riding my Honda Cycle thanks to idiots like you who think you are school teachers posing as thirteen year olds per the results of your mentality testing!

  2. You are all pathetic.This isn’t about any of you this is about the education of us children.I attend lake mineolla high school which contains iPads for each student.yes it was costly and yes it was like a science experiment where we’ve been dubbed the guinea pigs.But it’s giving us chances to practice typing skills,allowing us to take notes faster in class,and review power points we would usually be viewed once from school.We have APPS that improve our understanding of certain subjects and give us the chances to learn from home as well, just having this technology,Internet at the touch of a finger(literally) it’s a new learning experience,and so far a quite efficient one.The fact that you’re spending your time bickering back and forth as if your in sixth grade is ridiculous,I know high schoolers who act twice your maturity level and I’m one of them. The iPads are costly but due to the dreadful economy you’re generation has created for mine,I think you owe it to us to award us with technology making learning fun and interesting,someone’s going to have to clean up your mess and obviously your to busy acting like thirteen year old girls on their menstrual cycle.thank you have a nice day.p.s grow up.

  3. Name says:

    Mr. Howard,

    I am not sure I understand your frustration. You have blamed your whole debacle on Don. Don is not the villain for reporting the facts. You have turned the WHOLE issue from 716 purchased ipads to its all about YOU.

    What you have done is allowed the voters to get a glimmer of what is in your real heart. Mr. Howard you campaigned for that seat on the School Board of your own free will. Now you are talking down to those same voters. We apparently just don’t get it, right? You won the votes which gives you the right to sit in that School Board seat and to SERVE we the people. However, it does not grant you the right to be SELF serving. Therefore Mr. Howard why did you willingly turn the i pad debate into a debate that is ALL ABOUT YOU!? And then blame Don for what you did to yourself? Just remember Lake County is hurting and it will take a lot of prayers and hard work to bring it back to life. The money spent was not free…it NEVER is free, there are always little strings attached. So Mr Howard I suggest you humble yourself a little and either serve the people or give the seat to someone that will.

  4. Tod Howard says:

    For the reading impaired, “According to the Lake County IT Department, in OCTOBER, each middle school science class was given 20 iPads for students to use while in class.”. I am pretty sure the election was in NOVEMBER! Folks, I would hate to see the facts get in the way of a good political flogging; but, I DID NOT and could not vote for the iPads, that was done well before I was elected! If you would like to check the record, the grants were announced in the School Board Newsletter dated June 28, 2010.

    If you go back and reread my reply; based on my own experience, I oppose some of the conclusions the writer made in relation to iPads and desktops. As far as my use of a LCS iPad, if any of you have ever been to a LCSB workshop, you know that the network is locked down. There is confidential personal information on that network. Until IT frees up the network, they do not allow personal devices on the network. They are working on that now and testing of the iPads on the LCS network is needed to ensure security of our children’s personal information. The student iPad belongs to LCS so I can not sync it to the applications that I already rely on in everyday life. It is also the base model and it does not meet my connectivity needs, so I will be purchasing an upgraded model as well as paying for the data plan out of my own pocket once things are freed up and we are able to connect to the LCS network.(ie: I do not want the LCS iPad!) In the name of government transparency, Vance Jochim and I pushed very hard to get all the information/documents the board sees on a website for the public to access prior to and/or during the meetings. The boards use of iPads is a result of transparency, we are now connected to the same website with the same information the public sees.

    There is the likelihood of a ebook state mandate so the option of doing nothing does not exist. eBooks are coming; period. They are a tremendous cost savings and there will need to be pilot programs to work out the bugs. I have made it clear that I oppose LCS purchasing devices for students, I am sure there are others on the board that disagree. The writer of this blog disagrees with me on this, but I believe the parents need to supply the device if they want to take advantage of the convenience of ebooks. Textbooks are expensive to buy, store, and inventory, but technology offers us cost saving options and LCSB needs to find the right one for Lake County. In the short term, we will have to spend money to work out the issues, in the long term we will find substantial savings. Is it cheaper to supply the student with an eReader and eBooks than to continue to purchase and supply textbooks? What is the best eReader? For the small price difference, is it better to have something like an android tablet that performs many more functions than an eReader? Is the android tablet, netbook or an iPad a better multifunction platform? There are lots of problems to be addressed. Please, do some research and come to the meetings. If you have an opinion and would like to be heard, there is time for public comment at every meeting.

    Just to be clear, I have received a box of 500 business cards from the district, that is it. I pay for my own travel, hotels, phone and data plan(soon to be times 2). In Feb. and March, I will again be shutting down my office, flying to Tallahassee and staying in a hotel, on my dime, on my time, to represent YOU. If you want to armchair quarterback the job I have done so far, at least do it with something that actually resembles the facts on record.(like the multi-million dollar construction projects to 3 year old schools I have been holding up)

    Don, You knew full well this was all done before I was elected and I am somewhat offended that, without so much as a phone call, you would print a statement like “We surmise this was a welcoming gift to our new board members so they would see things the district’s way.”. I surmise you wrote this assumption with such an underhanded slant just to increase your website traffic….. ;P

  5. Not to worry! Commissioner Jimmy Conner will announce on his website “Jimmy The Great” that he has negotiated some excellent insurance coverage on these Ipads on behalf of the taxpayers of Lake County with non other than Brown and Brown! Yes! The LCSB could have got the coverage at a much better preminum rate, but, as Conner always points out, you get what you pay for! Its a bargain after all and we are looking out for the people! The people in our culture of corruption that is!

  6. My wife and I voted for Tod Howard even though we didn;t know him because he at least paid his taxes on time! Maybe we should have voted for the tax cheat! she would have probably been tighter with the tax dollars knowing someday she would have to pay them!

  7. I just love to read these comments, “We need some house cleaning in the lake County School District” and “I hope the school board members are looking into this”.

    What planet are you living on? First, who do you think is going to do “house cleaning”? You? The School Board? The Superintendent? You cannot be that ignorant.

    Vote in and out school board members and it will make no difference. You are putting politicians, business people or at best, ex-school teachers who do not understand how the school system works. The Superintendent is just a lackey that was place in that position by the school board, if she wants to keep her job, she will do what they want, right or wrong. They don’t know what they are doing, they just listen to recommedations and vote.

    The school board members APPROVED this purchase! You still want them to look into it? You have a post here by a school board member justifying the purchase. You still want board members to look into it? School board members are just going to approve recommendations from the staff and no one is going to get rid of upper staff members who have been with the school district 20 plus years and are held in high regard in the school system. These folks, unless they do something terrible, are here to stay! They set policy and run the school district.

    Housecleaning… Hope the board looks into this… Good for the Children… Please… You gotta be kidding me…

  8. Name says:

    don’t be too hard on Tod Howard for spending tax dollars on his iPad. it is nothing compared to Jimmy Conner going to Washington DC uninvited and spending $6500 of hard earned tax dollars to further his political career.

  9. Like the previous blogger I find none of the honest conservatives I though I was voting for! Even in a major crisis neither Webster nor Rubio responds! The sad news is Alan Grayson had a staff that got things done, even as crazy as he was! I even let Tod Howard place signs on my property as well as the two new BCC commissioners! All of them have fell right into lock step with with waste and fraud at the LCBCC and LCSB! This is obvious especially with the BCC since the two new ones have had a complete change of attitude since someone splained things to them! I do believe the only solution to electing ignorant syphophants to public office and forcing them to curtail excessive spending is fast on the way! That is the total collapse of the “dollar.” hang on it won’t be worth a nickel bu the end of this year, even though the fed is tryong to float off its demise to keep Obama looking good!

  10. Name says:

    Tod Howard gives a very informative explanation in favor of spending $344,844.00 for i pads for Lake County students. I am quite sure that the tax payer in Alabama, Arkansas, or Georgia would be over joyed that they were able to contribute their hard earned money to Lake County’s students as well.

    The Board and the Administrators get a pay check and should buy an i pad if that is what it takes for them to keep up with technology. They did just fine before the i pad was developed. I am certain that the money would not have been spent so quickly and without thought if the money was connected to their bank accounts. We voted for members to be in a position to do the peoples work. Spending money as if it was yours is a must! I ask all of you that voted yea to ask yourselves at whose expense was this huge purchase made. Will the i pad give the students excellent reading, writing, and math skills or don’t those skills matter any more?
    Are any of you intelligent people aware that any new product that is introduced to the market will eventually settle to a lower more acceptable price?

    For some reason I am not impressed or convinced that we have voted into office the fiscal Conservatives
    I had hoped for.

  11. I hope the School Board members are looking into this. The old excuse that it was federal grant money has to be challenged, as it comes from the pockets of the tax payer regardless of the funding conduit. I feel like the grant could better serve the taxpayers and students by offsetting the ongoing costs of the IT system in the school, rather than adding a new, possibly unnecessary, item that will now incur future recurring costs to an already strapped system. On the surface it does not look like this passes the “Is it good for the Student?” test.

  12. I have seen two world fairs, a Coleman dog fight,a Wildwood goat roping, two buffalo’s making love and a purple o’possum, but, I ain’t never seen anything like this! The problem is there is no crime to waste of taxpayers monies! the Lake county School system is like most of the other government agencies! It is run and controlled by a bunch of nimcapoots that have no common sense and whose main priority is to acheive “vested retirement status” and meanwhile collect every dollar imagineable for themselves and waste every possible tax dollar available from every source! Meanwhile they complain about not having proper school supplies and tell the public they are having to buy students supplies out of their own pockets! Then don’t forget along comes Jimmy Conner and strongarms “the board” into wasting milions more tax dollars on insurance preminums with Brown and Brown instead of doing what businesses are forced to do, and that’s putting everything out for an honest bid process without a bunch of strings attached that seem to disquailify every bidder who refuses to participant in the mandatory political kickback process! But, its our fault! For greater than fifty years the old timers standard statement was “there’s two things we don’t talk about and that’s politics and religion!” Well guess what that attitude has allowed them both to deteriorate to where they are today! If the people don’t get their heads back in the daylight it’s only going to continue to get worse!

  13. Tod Howard says:

    This is my own opinion and is not reflective of the board as a whole, any single board member or the administration of LCS.

    1. Desktops have their place but they are limited. iPads are not a replacement for desktops but a totally different technology that is becoming an important part of business and industry. Most every medical office in the entire USA will be migrating to Electronic Medical Records over the next 3 years. iPads have many software applications that address the needs of the medical profession as well as other industries and our students need to be exposed to the technology. The student iPads are loaded with unique applications that would not be feasible on a desktop or a laptop for that matter. The astronomy application allows you to hold the iPad to the sky and identify the constellations in real time. There are weather and radar applications which are important in aviation. The portability lets the students take them into the lab setting, the classroom and even the field.

    2. Phones, desktops and facsimiles are being outpaced by portable personal devices, email and text messages. They make communication faster and easier not to mention they leave a traceable record of communication. It is likely that this device will streamline operations allowing us to be more effective thus reducing costs over the longer term.

    3. In my experience, the battery life is 8-10 hours of active use per charge. Also, as an iPhone(the same platform as iPad) owner for more than a year I can assure they are extremely tough. The iPads are in a secondary case that helps absorb the rigors of daily use. iPads are not the fragile units they are being made out to be.

    4. My wife and I have been iPhone owners for more than a year and have had zero problems. These are units that are exposed to abuse on a daily basis, regularly access the web and are relied upon as an essential business tool. Our maintenance consists of periodic “syncing”.

    5. I use my personal iPhone(including data and minutes) for my LSCB business. I pay for my own hotel/transportation costs. The only thing the district supplied me with is business cards. We were unsure if the iPad would effectively meet the board needs in communication, document sharing and software. I had experience with the platform and decided to be the board member gunny pig though I made it clear I would be purchasing my own if it was determined to be a viable option. This also gave me the opportunity to experience the actual educational applications our children are exposed to. Having spent more than my fair share of time(years) in science classes and labs, the science iPad is impressive.

    Today’s youth have grown up with technology, this device is proving to be an effective device/tool with which to engage them. They have their own unique language, social habits and expectations. Like it or not, iPads are the youth’s modern technology. Tablets are a powerful platform essential to many current business practices and it would be foolhardy to withhold that technology from our students. Let us also not forget, there is a tremendous growth in database support/management, IT technology, online magazines, online advertising, and application development. With all the talk about jobs, jobs jobs, do you really think it is wise to shun such a popular(multi-billion dollar) technology?

  14. Name ALFA says:

    Thank goodness Lake County is finally coming into the technological age. It’s about time.

  15. These idiotcrats think they are doing us a favor by getting all these federal frills for Lake County. The mentally challenged! unfortunately so much so they do not realize it is we the U S taxpayers who have to send this money to Whooshington before they can send it back to our idiots in charge to waste! We should have the authority to charge these people with Grand Theft and sentence them to 50 plus years at hard labor!

  16. Name RWCX says:

    We need some house cleaning in the Lake County School District.

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