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.

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Companies: microsoft

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Comments on “California Schools Not Using $200 Million From The Microsoft Settlement”

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Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

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…”

Max Eissler says:

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.

Robert Holtz (user link) says:

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.

Max Eissler says:

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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