Cobb County Schools Nixes iBook Contract Plans

The Cobb County Georgia School Board terminated its contract with Apple Computer late Sunday based on an investigation that found that the school system "deceived" the public in choosing the company to supply it with new iBook laptops for students.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports in its Monday edition that the board requested the investigation a month ago, after a witness testified, in a lawsuit to stop the program, that the bidding process was tainted.

An independent investigation found Apple got the contract even though it appears the company did not initially make the final cut of companies to be considered. Investigators also found Central Office staff "refused to tell the truth" to investigators. "The responses by the personnel conveyed misleading information in certain aspects and false information in others," the report stated. "Those responsible clearly wanted to create a false impression of the results of the negotiation to justify thier decision."

On July 28, a judge ordered an immediate halt to the laptop program, because the school system did not give voters "fair notice" about how they would pay for it through a special 1 percent sales tax voters approved in 2003.

Investigators gave no indication that Apple Computer had done anything wrong in its negotiations with the school district.