California Schools Not Using $200 Million From The Microsoft Settlement

from the not-a-priority? dept

A few years back, in settling a civil lawsuit against Microsoft for its monopolistic practices, Microsoft agreed to pay out $250 million to California schools, in the form of vouchers. Now, there are some who might point out that this sort of "settlement" makes good business sense, in that many will use the vouchers on PCs with Microsoft software, thereby getting a new generation of kids hooked on Microsoft products (it's worth pointing out that the vouchers can be used on non-Microsoft software as well). However, that's hardly the biggest issue, apparently. Instead, people are realizing that the vast majority of the $250 million is not being used by the schools. Some are pointing out that their budgets are being slashed, and since they have to pay for the equipment upfront and then request money back later, it's just too much trouble. Others are saying it just hasn't been a priority, even though they know the money is available.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Cynic, Oct 31st, 2008 @ 6:10pm

    Sure, why would using $250 million dollars for the benefit of students be a priority? Those who can do, those who can't teach and (wait for it) those who can't teach run schools.

     

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  2.  
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    inc, Oct 31st, 2008 @ 6:31pm

    sounds like a rebate.. i hate those things

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2008 @ 7:02pm

    Heck, give 'em to me. I'll use 'em!

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2008 @ 8:18pm

    they're not using the money because....

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2008 @ 8:18pm

    they're not using the money because....

    they didn't fill out the rebates forms in time!!!

     

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  6.  
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    Ajax 4Hire, Nov 1st, 2008 @ 7:11am

    Make work school project...

    Each school district must now hire a warm-body to manage the rebate paperwork thereby mitigating any money saved. The cost of the rebate pays the employee.

    I know who wins when a lawsuit is settled by rebates and coupons to grieved customers, the lawyers who try the case get real money, the best kind of gift certificate.

    Now I get mail from lawyers stating: "I may have already won..."

     

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  7.  
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    Zuke, Nov 1st, 2008 @ 9:05am

    I processed one of these rebates this year at our company and it was worth nearly $7,000. A damn good deal for about 30 mins work filling out the paperwork and making copies of invoices.

    There's no excuse for schools not using this money. You can make claims based on hardware purchases alone, not just software.

     

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  8.  
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    teacher, Nov 1st, 2008 @ 9:19am

    I got a laptop two year ago from this settlement. It just depends whether you are in a district that can get things done.

     

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  9.  
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    Phillip Vector, Nov 1st, 2008 @ 10:09am

    Re: Make work school project...

    The cost of the rebate pays the employee.

    Wow... So a government job pays $250 million? Where do I sign up? :)

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2008 @ 10:19am

    It would be interesting, nonetheless, to understand how a school district could effectively utilize a a 50% off coupon for SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition that didn't involve an eBay or Craigslist transaction.

     

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  11.  
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    phil511, Nov 1st, 2008 @ 11:19am

    why not distribute the vouchers
    to teachers who really need these
    equipments for their classes who probably
    could find a way to advance the money
    and immediately claim reimbursement from
    these vouchers.

     

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  12.  
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    Cynic, Nov 1st, 2008 @ 11:58am

    @Ajax 4Hire

    Right Ajax, no way the school districts could get together and hire a SINGLE contractor to do it, right? That's like saying small business can't afford a CPA. Ahhhhh, CPAs handle work for a lot of small businesses.

    Like I said, those who don't know how to do anything else run schools.

     

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  13.  
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    Max Eissler, Nov 1st, 2008 @ 12:32pm

    This is misleading

    As a Technology Director for a school district, I can tell you that this is misleading. Though my district has already spent all of our voucher many because we had immediate needs, I talk with my peers in many other districts who are simply saving this money in order to use for planned future expenses. The monies don't have to be spent for 7 years, there are many restrictions on what it can be spent on, and we're all seeing our budgets slashed, so folks are saving this money to be able to use for necessary license renewals or upgrades that they are planning to implement 2 or 3 years from now.

    It's disappointing to see that, when public officials plan finances responsibly, the press is spinning it to portray it as waste.

     

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  14.  
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    harvardjanitor7, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 12:00am

    Re: This is misleading

    i thought there might be a logical explanation. thanks for sharing it.

     

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  15.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 1:51am

    Open Source?

    What if the schools use Open Source software, where they don't have to spend money on licences? Will they be able to use the vouchers to pay for support instead?

     

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  16.  
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    Robert Holtz, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 4:12am

    What an outrage

    This is why time and time again the government demonstrates its incompetence at effectively using its resources. There is no justification a top-heavy bureaucracy can give to massive cut backs, programs and budgets being slashed, when so many millions could be benefiting those kids right now. Stockpiling them for years from now is symptom of a broken system. The influx should be immediately applied to the areas being cut off by capital deficiencies. No two ways about that. Any excuse for that is simple statist rhetoric.

     

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  17.  
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    Max Eissler, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 8:00am

    Re: What an outrage

    I absolutely agree that this money should be used to offset slashed budgets if possible, and that's exactly why many folks are saving it. You have to understand that this money has a lot of restrictions on it; fully 50% of the money can only be spent on software, and only on certain types of software at that.

    If you have $50,000 that can only be spent on software, and you don't have any software expenses this year, do you think that you should just go out and find some expensive software that you don't really need just so you can spend it right now? Or should you save it for when you do have software expenses? When you do the latter, you can take the budget money which would have gone to that software (and doesn't carry the same restrictions) and use it for more needy programs instead.

    This story was sensationalist and misleading, and I hope that it doesn't lead to an innapropriate outcry that will force IT leaders to make irresponsible purchases.

     

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  18.  
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    Max Eissler, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 8:03am

    Re: Open Source?

    No, the software vouchers (50% of the total money) can only be spent on software licenses, and only certain types of software. You can see all the rules at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/et/st/etvfaq.asp

     

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  19.  
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    brian, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 10:03am

    Totally Microsoft-ish

    This is so totally Microsoft-ish.... another crooked strategy from MS. Damn!!

    http://www.livbit.com

     

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  20.  
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    Chris, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 12:33pm

    @Cynic

    So Cynic, those who can't do anything make ill-informed posts.

    Max Eissler just made a fool of you. Schools (like businesses) have to work within a budget and life cycles. There's no need to buy stuff when it isn't needed.

     

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  21.  
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    Guy One, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 7:14pm

    Two words... California Schools!!!

     

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  22.  
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    MediaEmpyre, Nov 3rd, 2008 @ 6:09am

    So why doesn't the school system try to sell the vouchers, admittedly at a loss, to get a much money as they can to set up a fund (making any kind of interest it can) to purchase the equipment later?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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