SAN ANGELO, TX — As the San Angelo ISD Board of Trustees prepares for its September 30 regular meeting, a financial workshop is planned. Attached to the data on the agenda for the pre-board meeting to be held Monday, September 13, are line items indicating millions were being spent with Apple over the summer. According to the district checkbook ledgers from June, July, and August, the following checks written to Apple Computer:
June checks written to Apple:
- $51,731.00 (For Maintenance)
- $344,884.00 TOTAL
July checks written to Apple:
- $7,140.00 (Maintenance)
- $27,326.00 TOTAL
August checks written to Apple
- $1,380.00 (Maintenance)
- $1,331,433.00 TOTAL
The sum of all of the checks written to Apple Inc. in June, July and August 2021 equals $1,703,643.
In July, the San Angelo ISD announced it was initiating a new “digital learning environment plan to distribute Apple iPads to every teacher and student.” District PR promised a “phased approach” with the first phase only putting iPads into the hands of the district’s high school teachers at the end of July 2021, “which will help familiarize them with the devices and ed-tech platforms which will later become used by their students.” The district did not state how much the iPad plan, dubbed the “1:1 Initiative,” will cost but promised another announcement once Phase 1 was complete.
The second phase will include distribution to middle school and elementary teachers and students.
At the June 2021 school board meeting, Dr. Jana Reuter who is managing the iPad plan told the board that the projected date for high school students to receive their iPads was August 2021; the middle schools projected date for student iPad distribution was January 2022; and the elementary student tentative student distribution is set for August 2022.
There are 3,303 middle school students in grades 6 through 8; 6,425 elementary students in grades pre-K through 5th, and 4,066 high school students in grades 9 through 12. That totals 13,822 actively enrolled students. There are approximately 930 teachers. If an iPad is given to every student and teacher, the total number of iPads will exceed 14,000, or about $7 million if each device costs $500. Current education pricing on the lower-end 2021 iPad Air is $549.
The district PR never mentioned the price tag to the taxpayer for the iPad initiative.
“Distributing iPads to our students and staff allows SAISD an opportunity to provide a digital learning tool to access instructional resources which inspires our students to become future-ready in the digital environment,” said Dr. Jana Rueter in a July press release. “These iPad’s will provide our students quality and dependable access to our teachers and instruction through our Learning Management Systems and digital resources.”
Apple Inc markets the mass distribution of digital devices to public schools as part of its contribution to the ConnectedED initiative. The program integrates iPads, Macs, and Apple TVs in the classroom. The $1.7 million the San Angelo ISD spent with Apple over the summer includes all checks written to Apple and some of the expenses may be for existing infrastructure in addition to components to support the mass iPad distribution plan.