Late last week a Georgia Superior Court judge halted Cobb County, Georgia’s rollout of a one-to-one computing initiative that would have put iBooks in the hands of thousands of students and teachers. On Monday, the Cobb County School Board announced after meeting with its attorneys that the iBook program was “no longer an option.”
The Cobb County “Power to Learn” program once promised to be the largest iBook deployment ever. In April, Cobb County officials approved $25 million to fund the first phase of the program, which would have given iBooks to teachers across Cobb County and students at four “demonstration” high schools. If it had been fully implemented, Apple would have put more than 63,000 iBooks in the hands of students and teachers alike across Cobb County.
The “Power to Learn” program was not without controversy, however. The money to fund the program was earmarked from a special tax fund Georgia taxpayers in individual counties can request called Special Purpose Location Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST.
Former Cobb County commissioner Butch Thompson brought suit against Cobb County earlier this year, accusing the school board of a “bait and switch.” Cobb County taxpayers only agreed to pay to refresh obsolete workstations with that SPLOST money, he said — not to lease new laptops for teachers and students. George Superior Court Judge S. Lark Ingram agreed with Thompson, and ordered a halt to the program on Friday.
The iBook deal isn’t totally dead in the water, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . The newspaper said that Cobb County attorney Tain Kell believes that Ingram erred in his decision. Still, the school board’s spokesman said that officials will begin to work on a new plan even if they plan to appeal — they have until August 28, 2005 to do so.