Additional reporting by Brian Addison.

The Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) was announced Thursday as the most prepared large school system in the state to provide technology resources for students, according to National Review Online.

lbusdImpressively, LBUSD was the top out of five school districts in the state to provide the technology needed for the latest academic standards known as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The other four districts joining LBUSD were from Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno and Elk Grove, where nonprofit research organization State Budget Solutions completed a case study figuring out the rights and wrongs in how to meet the technological requirements for CCSS.

“The actual dollars needed for the new standards, particularly the high cost of technology upgrades, are stacking up quickly,” the National Review Online said. “States such as California that are unlikely to change their plans to adopt the CCSS must now consider the real financial costs to ensure that local school districts are ready to abandon No. 2 pencils in favor of iPads, Chromebooks, and Windows tablets to assess their students… LBUSD is the most prepared, primarily because it has accepted outside funding from foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. LBUSD has also opted to establish computer labs rather than give individual devices to students.”

The school district provides wireless access, high bandwidth and updated computing devices for CCSS testing. It also invested $6 in state technology funding to install 109 new computer labs. Director of Research Christopher Lund of the LBUSD said opting to give schools a computer lab rather than individual tablets allowed a safer, more secure lab network.

LBUSD received $16.4M from the state, allocating $8.4M for instructional materials, $6M for technology, and $2M for professional development.

“While the state’s $16.4M has helped cover some costs, the district primarily funded the CCSS through private grants and funding requests that started before state money for Common Core flowed into the district,” State Budget Solutions noted. “LBUSD has been a leader in transitioning to Common Core, and it has been working on implementing the new standards during these past four years. In 2012, LBUSD, along with Fresno Unified, had the distinction of being the only two California school districts to receive $5M grants to implement the CCSS from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world that heavily invested in developing the new standards. The district secured another $3M from the Gates Foundation during that following year, as well as $7.5M from the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation. In August 2013, the Obama administration granted LBUSD and seven other California school districts waivers from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) that freed up $6.8M in federal taxpayer dollars for LBUSD to use with greater flexibility, defraying some of the district’s costs for Common Core.”