A day after news broke that 3,269 iPads were sitting in DPI storage rather than being used in North Carolina schools, Superintendent Mark Johnson went on the defensive.
Johnson had informed the State Board of Education last March that there were “just over 2,000” iPads at the textbook warehouse and that they would be distributed in spring or summer to be ready for use in the 2019-2020 school year. But an August warehouse inventory showed the tablets were still sitting in storage–and the actual number was significantly higher.
On Wednesday, DPI Communications Director Graham Wilson told the media there was an “extensive, strategic” plan to distribute the tablets to North Carolina schools, and that 800 additional iPads were purchased last month as a part of that plan. He said details about the plan would be announced next week.
In comments to WRAL, Superintendent Johnson blamed September 2018’s Hurricane Florence for the long delay. He also attempted to deflect attention by taking a shot at former Superintendent June Atkinson:
“It’s so exciting that the money that I saved in my superintendent’s budget – because I just spend less than my predecessor – I actually bought books for children, and we bought 800 extra iPads to put on top of that.”
Johnson didn’t explain which budget line item was used to purchase the latest iPads. There is no “superintendent’s budget.”