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After Past Tech Stumbles, LAUSD Board Votes To Develop App For Emergency, Update Notifications

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The seven-member Los Angeles Unified Board of Education on Tuesday voted unanimously to develop an emergency notification app for parents and staff.

The resolution was introduced by Nick Melvoin of District 4, which includes much of the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood and Venice, and is intended to "transform district communications with a new smartphone app for the second largest school district," an LAUSD statement read.

The app is intended to replace the traditional system of "antiquated robo-calls and paper surveys," choosing instead modern methods available to smartphones, such as push notifications for emergencies and general school updates.

The resolution was co-sponsored by board president Mónica García, who tied the motion to parent engagement and graduation attainment.

"This initiative will increase opportunities for parents to have access to accurate, useful, and relevant information for their student's success," said García.

Parent and tech expert Prashant Jain gave his input at Tuesday's hearing, saying, "In my experience, every successful initiative in technology is built on transparency, and I feel like parents were included in this process."

The board is working with the L.A. Unified Information Technology Division to develop the app. No information was given Tuesday on whether any outside contractors would be involved in the process or how much developing the app would cost.

This is not the first time LAUSD dabbles in technology.

In 2014, the district was rocked by a controversy involving then Superintendent John Deasy's failed, billion-dollar implementation of a program to provide every student with an iPad that ultimately led to his resignation.

That same year, the new computerized district enrollment procedure left hundreds of thousands of students waiting for classes.


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