Cobb County iBook Program Ends

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on Tuesday that the Cobb County iBook program, which was ordered to halt by a Superior Court judge last Friday, is now dead. School board members decided late on Monday to abide by the judgeis decision, ending a program that could have ultimately provided 63,000 iBooks to all grades six through 12 teachers and students.

In April, the Cobb County board approved the US$25 million first phase of the "Power to Learn" program, which was going to distribute laptops to all 7,100 teachers in the school system as well as the students at four pilot high schools. However, former County Commission Butch Thompson filed suit two months ago to stop the program, claiming that the school board had failed to inform voters that a special tax passed in 2003 would be paying for it.

That tax promised to "refresh obsolete work stations," among other things, and Mr. Thompson claimed that such language did not apply to the Power to Learn initiative. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the controversy generated many opponents of the plan, among them teachers and parents.

Board chairwoman Kathie Johnstone said that the group could appeal the court decision. It has until Aug. 28 to do so. Meanwhile, work will begin on a new technology initiative, which could include laptop-filled carts wheeled between classrooms, instead of handing a computer to each student.