“Cobb County school board members will no longer try to equip its students with laptop computers, agreeing in spirit with a Superior Court judge’s order to immediately halt the groundbreaking program,” Kristina Torres reports for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Board Chairwoman Kathie Johnstone made the announcement late Monday after board members met with attorneys for two hours and 15 minutes. She said the board came to a unanimous consensus, realizing Cobb’s controversial program ‘is no longer an option.’ The decision could close a rift that has roiled the community for months.”

“Opponents of the plan, including many parents and teachers, had questioned whether it was proven and worth the cost. Judge S. Lark Ingram recently halted the program because the school system did not tell voters a special sales tax would be used to pay for it,” Torres reports.

“The judge’s decision will allow the distribution of laptops to teachers to proceed because school officials had already promised them a ‘computing device’ in the materials they distributed before the sales tax passed in 2003,” Torres reports. “At that time, school officials also promised to ‘refresh obsolete [computer} workstations’ for students. Only later did officials come up with a more dramatic plan that eventually could have provided 63,000 Apple iBook laptops to all teachers and all students in grades six through 12. System spokesman Jay Dillon said officials will begin to work on a new plan, ‘even if the board decides to appeal.’ That work will include looking at schools’ current technology needs… Separate investigations requested by the board into the bidding process for the laptop program are continuing, based on witness testimony that a school system employee hinted before final bids were in that leaders wanted Apple Computer as their supplier.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bet Dell’s education sales force had a few beers to celebrate. Can you guess what happens next? We suppose Apple could start all over, but why wouldn’t the board shy away from Apple Macs after all of this? Cobb’s students end up being the losers. Too bad.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Judge shuts down 63,000 Apple iBooks for Cobb County students – July 29, 2005
One Cobb County Apple iBook audit expected to finish soon – July 27, 2005
Inquiry into Cobb County Apple iBook bids requested – July 14, 2005
Cobb County iBook saga: allegations that school leaders pressured employees to pick Apple – July 11, 2005
Lawsuit to halt Cobb County’s 63,000 Apple iBooks for education plan goes to court today – July 08, 2005
Cobb County’s Apple iBooks in schools saga continues with lawsuit – June 04, 2005
Lawsuit filed to stop Cobb County’s Apple iBook program – June 01, 2005
Cobb County school board approves Apple Mac plan; could eventually distribute 63,000 iBooks – April 29, 2005
Henrico school board dumps Apple Macs, picks Dells with Windows – April 29, 2005
Cobb County school officials intend to move forward with Apple iBook program – April 21, 2005
Cobb Commission chief urges delay in Apple iBook program, says issue has become too emotional – April 20, 2005
No conflict of interest in ongoing Cobb County Apple iBook saga – April 19, 2005
More controversy in Atlanta-area school district’s plan to buy Apple iBooks – April 16, 2005
Cobb County Georgia approves first phase of plan that could equip schools with 63,000 Apple iBooks – April 15, 2005
Atlanta-area school district on verge of deal for 31,000 Apple iBooks – April 12, 2005
Cobb teachers voice concerns over using Macs for proposed laptop program – March 29, 2005
Cobb County Georgia meeting discusses plan to equip schools with 63,000 Apple iBooks – February 24, 2005
Report: 90 percent of emails opposed to Georgia’s Apple iBook program – February 10, 2005
65,000 Apple iBooks for Georgia schools one of the largest school laptop programs in the country – February 10, 2005
Georgia school district to propose 63,000 Macs for students and teachers – February 07, 2005