Long-term cost of Maine’s Apple iBooks for public schools estimated at $28 million per year

“Of the state’s 118 public high schools, 34 have agreed to foot the bill to get laptops into the hands of ninth-graders this fall, but the question remains: Who will pay to continue the program long term when the cost reaches $28 million or more annually for grades seven through 12? The enormity of the bill has yet to hit home, because the program is only in its third year. The laptop initiative championed by former Gov. Angus King has provided computers to seventh-graders for the last two years, and to eighth-graders for one year,” Victoria Wallack writes for The Times Record.

“While the state had hoped to continue the program for all high school freshmen this fall, no money was appropriated, leaving school districts to scramble, and – in some cases – use federal aid for students with disabilities, No Child Left Behind Act provisions or even Medicaid dollars to help pay the bill,” Wallack writes. The $28 million figure “less daunting if one considers what schools already are spending on technology – up to $45 million annually in some years statewide, based on a Department of Education survey… Throw in the savings on textbooks, she said, with some middle school principals saying they already don’t intend to buy new textbooks because ‘they can get that information online and it’s up-to-date,’ and the numbers sound better.”

Full article here.


  1. this would be great if they had the same text books as pdfs and you just used preview to view them.

    I do agree with first post in a sense though. Public schools, like many state funded projects, don’t havce the pressure on them that private organizations do to stay alive. If schools were managed like corporations, things would be done more efficiently and quickly, and those who aren’t producing would be fired.

  2. ” schools were managed like corporations, things would be done more efficiently and quickly, and those who aren’t producing would be fired.”

    Tell that to my lazy, Windows centric, Mac hating corporate IT department.

  3. One thing I will never understand is how a school system is managed. Our school system is small <5000 students, but they go through more than 6,000,000 sheets of copy paper per year. Imagine what might be done if some of that went to moving our kids to iBooks.

  4. I read in the SF Chronicle a while ago at the SF school discrict spends about $14,000 per student per year, yet can’t seem to find enough money to provide even a basic education. For those who think “more money” is the solution, I suggest taking a look at why the U.S. education system can spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year and end up with high school seniors who read, write, and do math at a middle school level of nearly all the industrialized countries in the world.

  5. Meteorite, I read that particular factoid in the Chronicle too. It does NOT include the cost of building new schools which are bond funded and repaid from the general fund. I was a California high school teacher in the late 60’s, and the 10 grand I made as a rookie was enough to live on, believe it or not. I had lots of stoned students, and few that were interested in mayhem, but the general idea then, as I bet it is now, is to move from teaching to administration ASAP.
    Classroom teachers are now a very small part of the budget pie. Special needs students, psychologists, security, and administration get more than half that juicy, but ill spent, pie. at my local high school. Throw in sports and the water bill and the teachers, making 40-60k a year, can’t expect much more soon.

    The private school I consult for (k-8), pays a mortgage on its land, offers remedial programs for the kids that need to catch up, and sponsors 6 city league sports teams a year. The tuition this year, with other fees, is $7k. Everyone knows there is no extra money, but that small sacrifice (including using ancient wintels with my help) seems to be worth it to most.

    The government does not spend money wisely. Surprised?

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