Despite Opposition, Stillwater Apple Laptop Program Will Proceed

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Weive been following the Stillwater school board and a program begun earlier this year to put laptops in two, and then one, of the districtis junior high schools for many months now. It began in September of this year with the announcement that the Minnesota school district would be purchasing some 2,309 iBooks for students and teachers for use in both local junior high schools. Almost immediately, the deal was lowered to some 1,130 iBooks due to budget constraints facing the district.

That deal was signed by the district, but it resulted in the ouster of those board members who supported it. They were defeated by a write-in campaign from two outsiders opposed to the program, including one Windows consultant who used data from corporate Windows networks to criticize the program.

Today, the Pioneer Press is reporting that despite the opposition of these two board members, and the campaign platform on which they ran, the school board will not be pulling out of the contract, and the deal will go through. The reason for this is that terms of the contract make cancelling cost prohibitive. From the Pioneer Press:

Board member George Thole, who voted against the $1.7 million agreement, said it would cost too much to break the contract. The program will provide Macintosh iBooks to more than 1,000 students at Oak-Land Junior High and about 130 junior high teachers over five years. Teachers and students will be allowed to take their computers home.

Superintendent Kathleen Macy said it would cost more than US$500,000 to back out of the deal. Thole said he had attorneys look at the contract, and the district possibly could get out of it for less. However, that wouldnit be prudent, he said.

"Weire going to go ahead with this and hope it works," Thole said. "We canit leave the teachers and students at Oak-Land up in the air while we go through all the legalities."

Thereis more information in the full article at the Pioneer Press. The article also says that the principal of the other junior high school is working on a separate and unrelated deal to put a few hundred iBooks in some of the classrooms in his school.

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