Thousands of iPads to be distributed to classrooms across NC

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Taxpayer-funded iPads for classrooms–it’s a story CBS 17 has been following for some time.

Last week, we reported there were thousands of iPads purchased a year ago was sitting in a warehouse gathering dust and we wanted to know why.

Last August, CBS 17 reported $6 million worth of iPads were purchased by the State Department of Instruction.

At the time the state’s superintendent said the 24,000 iPads would go into classrooms.

It was later discovered thousands were never distributed and stored in a warehouse.

When consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia asked about them, officials said the state superintendent was going to announce what was going to happen to them soon.

In reply to Sbraccia’s inquiry, the DPI said over 800 additional iPads were purchased a month ago. When added to those which weren’t distributed last year, that left more than 3,000 iPads in storage.

Mark Johnson was in Jacksonville Monday. He outlined how that distribution will take place.

He also explained to CBS 17 why thousands of the devices were left in a warehouse for almost a year.

“We were going to get them out as soon as possible but Hurricane Florence hit and a lot of the school districts that were going to get them were dealing with Florence and storm recovery.”

He says, “We are making sure they’ll be shipped out this week and into the school districts for the school year.”

The plan by the DPI is to have at least four iPad or other tablets available in every Kindergarten through 3rd-grade class in the state to help teachers provide what the agency calls “personalized learning” and “literary activities.”

The superintendent also says any school districts that don’t want Ipads in their classrooms won’t have to take them.

“We’re letting districts choose if they want Chromebooks or if they want an Ipad.”

And the superintendent says by the time the distribution is over—no iPads will remain warehoused.

He also says the operating systems of the iPads in storage can be updated to keep them current.

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