Tech Companies’ Lobbyists Earned Their Corporate Lobbying Fees in Sacramento
Bond purchases of iPads can continue
Bill to rein in the practice failed in committee
By Ashly McGlone 2:30 P.M. MAY 10, 2014 San Diego Union-Tribune
A bill that would have barred school districts from using voter-approved facility bond funds to purchase take-home iPads and other computer devices for students died in the state Assembly’s Education Committee last week.
More and more school districts are selling bonds to pay for consumer electronics such as netbooks and other devices for educational purposes, promising to repay investors with interest years or even decades later.
Proponents of the practice point to Proposition 39 passed by California voters in 2000, which allows districts to spend bond dollars to furnish and equip school facilities, including technology needs.
Assemblymen Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, and Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside, sought to limit that practice, but the effort failed Wednesday.
The law would have prevented districts from spending voter-approved capital bond money on instructional materials, including laptops and tablet computers that are not closely connected to classroom instruction, assigned to individual pupils or that leave the school for more than one school day.
The authors argued such devices should be purchased with instructional materials funds, not bond funds.
“It’s poor fiscal policy to use something that is going to have a 30- to 40-year payout to buy something that only has a shelf life of 18 to 24 months,” Chavez said. “The intent of it was to ensure that when communities take on debt like a bond, it would go toward long-term investments, like a facility.”
Hagman likened the practice to getting “a home mortgage to buy your laptop.”
“I think a $300 to $400 tablet that replaces textbooks, that is an instructional material,” Hagman said. “I haven’t seen that many student’s take a desk home to study with them.”
San Diego Assemblywomen Lorena Gonzalez and Shirley Weber, both Democrats, are committee members and attended the hearing, but chose not to vote. The bill needed four votes advance, but died 3-0.
Gonzalez cited San Diego Unified’s successful 2012 bond measure as the reason for her lack of support.
”Allowing bond money to finance equipment that’s used for instruction like iPads was a question in front of San Diego voters in 2012 when Proposition Z passed,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Voters chose overwhelmingly to approve the bond. Parents want their children to have greater access to modern technology to stay competitive and AB 1754 would have prevented them from making that choice at the ballot box.”
Weber’s communications director, Joe Kocurek, said the assemblywoman didn’t support the bill because it “was too restrictive given evolving uses of technology in teaching.”
San Diego Unified also wrote a three-page letter opposing the bill.
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Vote NO on Prop E on June 3
Vote NO because Prop E will allow CUSD to purchase iPads with bond proceeds.
Vote NO because Coronado taxpayers will still be paying off the proposed Prop E principal and interest long after iPads and other technology, or “tech,” purchased by CUSD becomes obsolete, goes missing, or are stolen . . . as happened in other surrounding school districts.
Vote NO because you agree with our argument AGAINST spending proposed Prop E proceeds on “tech” and iPads in your Ballot Pamphlet on page PR-1301-5.
Vote NO on Prop E on June 3!