Maine Strikes iBook Deal for State High Schools

Apple has agreed to a new deal that will put iBooks in approximately one-third of Maineis public high schools this fall.

"Iim absolutely delighted," Education Commissioner Susan Gendron told the Associated Press.

Officials for Apple and the state of Maine had hoped to sign up enough schools to rent at least 8,400 iBooks as part of the expanded program, but Apple settled on 6,000 instead. iBooks will now go in some 35 to 40 of the stateis 119 high schools, according to the report. Apple will charge about US$300 a system to put the iBooks in high schools.

Maineis Learning Technology Initiative has been the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism since its implementation in September 2002. Maineis four-year program provided Apple iBook computers to more than 30,000 seventh- and eighth-graders in all 241 public middle schools across the state in two phases in 2002 and 2003. It was to have seemlessly expanded through all school grades, but a state budget crisis forced the program to be trimmed back.