After a good whoopin’ of outrage from taxpayers, San Diego Unified is shifting gears on how it finances iPads in classrooms.

Initially, the district relied on a long-term financing plan to purchase iPads for students, using bond money from Prop. S. That system inflated the cost of each from $400 to $4,000. Folks weren’t pleased.

“We listened to our critics,” Lee Dulgeroff, San Diego Unified’s chief facilities officer told Ashly McGlone. “We thought, ‘You know, they’re right. We really should be using shorter maturity bonds to do this.’ At the time we thought it was real important. Technology still is really important and it was important, but we felt we wanted to match the life of the device with the type of financing.”

So now, debt incurred while purchasing iPads will be paid off quickly at low interest rates, yanking the price per iPad down to about $700, according to our calculations. That got a cheer from San Diego County Taxpayers Association CEO Mark Leslie: “We are really happy that they have worked their way back to sanity.”

Small Downpour of Drought News

• State highway agency Caltrans uses 720 million gallons of drinking water every year on medians and embankments in San Diego County. The agency’s ready and willing to use reclaimed water instead, but San Diego hasn’t installed the system of “purple pipes” needed to transmit water from its two reclamation plants. (U-T)

The shoreline around the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, is drying up. That’s kicking up dust pollution and health concerns for nearby residents. (KPBS)

Mayor Kevin Faulconer is planning to meet with Gov. Jerry Brown today to ask for help funding a local water recycling program. (San Diego 6)

Quick News Hits

• Four San Diegans are stranded in Nepal following the 7.8 earthquake that’s killed an estimated 4,000 people. A GoFundMe campaign is under way for the foursome. KPBS and City News Service report a vigil is scheduled for tonight at UCSD and the AP’s got a collection of organizations where you can donate to help the rest of those dealing with the wreckage.

• Ex-Chargers Shawne Merriman, Dan Fouts, LaDainian Tomlinson and Nick Hardwick tap into all your community-oriented feels to make the case for keeping the Chargers here. (The Players Tribune)

• Assemblyman Rocky Chavez is still running for state assembly, even as he goes for U.S. Senate. (Sacramento Bee)

Veteran state political consultant Matt Rexroad’s take: “If you are running for the U.S. Senate and State Assembly at the same time you are not running for US Senate.”

City Council approved that five-year contract with a new concessions company for Qualcomm Stadium, even though the Chargers’ fate in San Diego is still uncertain. (U-T)

• City Council approved earned sick leave for hourly city employees. Starting July 1, those roughly 1,300 employees will get the chance to earn up to three paid sick days a year. (City News Service)

• San Diego-based tuna company Bumble Bee Foods and two employees were charged with willfully ignoring safety rules, which resulted in a worker at the company’s Santa Fe Springs plant burning alive inside a pressure cooker. (L.A. Times)

VOSD contributor Clare Leschin-Hoar asked CEO Chris Lischewski about the incident in a Q-and-A last year. “We always had an employee safety committee at the factory. This was never brought up as a potential risk area, but we’ve gone back and done a lot of work on lighting, policies and procedures,” Lischewski said then.

• Port truck drivers in Otay Mesa, as well as those in Long Beach and Los Angeles, went on strike Monday to protest being misclassified as “independent contractors,” which they say allows companies to pay them less than minimum wage. (10News)

• The Atlantic touched on the privacy concerns of releasing police body camera footage. In the past, we’ve heard from our local ACLU chapter on their recommendations, and have pressed the SDPD on when, if ever, they’d allow the public to view.

• This happened.

Catherine Green

Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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