Portland Press Herald report penned by Paul Carrier noted that neither Maine governor Angus King nor the state’s attorney general Steven Rowe are in favor of the recent legislative suggestion to cancel the Maine’s US$37.2 million contract with Apple to provide iBooks to all Maine middle schoolers.
At the behest of two legislators, Rowe’s office looked into canceling the contract all together. The congressmen felt that the money could be better used to make up prodigious shortfalls elsewhere in the state budget. The contract — the centerpiece of a statewide technology learning initiative — has been the focus of intense political debate since it was signed last December.
After analysis of the contract, AG Rowe said that the state’s overall liability is unclear, but estimated that it would cost Maine at least $100,000 to walk away from the contract — plus more for the thousands of machines and related services Apple has already provided. Rowe added that canceling the contract could have long-term negative consequences for Maine’s credit rating and its ability to secure future contracts.
King — a vocal advocate of the program — said during a news briefing earlier this week that the damage incurred by canceling the contract outweighed the potential benefits. Apple is offering the iBooks to the state at a bargain, said King, and it would be “silly” to abandon the deal.