The No On Z campaign has released a new graphic (http://twitpic.com/b5jfu3) called, “These iPads cost what?!” designed “to highlight the obscene amount of money the San Diego Unified School Board is paying for thousands of iPads.”
Anyone can buy an iPad for US$399, but the school board is paying $2,500 apiece, according to a new analysis by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA). The school board issued 40-year Capital Appreciation Bonds to buy nearly 11,000 iPads. In other words, the school board is deferring principal and interest payments for 20 years, says SDCTA.
“The school board has essentially taken out a 40-year mortgage to pay for devices that have a 3- or 4-year shelf life,” says Lani Lutar, SDCTA’s president and CEO. “The students using these iPads will still be paying for them in 2050.”
The financing decision can be traced back to 2008 when voters approved Proposition S, a $2.1 billion school bond. Instead of using that money to fund major repairs — which is how the bond was presented to taxpayers — the school board has funded smaller improvements and paid for technology, including iPads and laptops, for students, according to Lutar.
Of the $2.1 billion voters approved, the school board has spent $380 million, which will cost taxpayers more than $2.5 billion with interest over 40 years, the SDCTA claims. If it continues down this financing path, the $2.1 billion bond would cost taxpayers as much as $14 billion — nearly a 7-to-1 ratio.