Special grand jury to look into Cobb County Schools iBook program

“A special grand jury has been impaneled to look into Cobb County’s failed laptop program. A group of county judges decided Thursday to initiate the criminal investigation to determine whether the contract for the $100 million program was manipulated in favor of Apple computer,” The Associated Press reports.

“Former Cobb County School Superintendent Joe Redden has said the investigation is politically motivated,” AP reports. “Cobb County District Attorney Pat Head said he completed his probe of the laptop contract earlier this week and asked the judges for the grand jury.”

In what was supposed to be one of the largest school laptop programs in the world, Cobb County were originally to distribute 63,000 Apple iBooks. “On Aug. 14, a report by a corporate investigator alleged bias and deception in the bidding process for the contract won by Apple Computer. Redden defended himself and his staff after the critical report, denying any undue influence. But school board members voted to terminate the contract,” AP reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Leave it to good old Cobb to snap us back to reality when we’re so pumped with anticipation over next week’s dual Apple fests: fourth quarter earnings and the secretive “One more thing” event… The Cobb County soap opera always delivers.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Cobb County Schools Superintendent Redden resigns over Apple iBook imbroglio – August 23, 2005
Cobb County Schools Superintendent blasts Apple iBook audit findings – August 16, 2005
Investigation finds Cobb School Board ‘deceived’ the public, Apple iBook deal terminated – August 15, 2005
Cobb County school board pulls plug on 63,000 Apple iBooks plan – August 02, 2005
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


  1. I think it’s only prudent, and unbiased, for the grand jury to also look into whether the school board members received any “enticements” in going with Dell. Well, they cast the first stone…

    MW: sure. I’m sure the truth will prevail.

  2. It’s a shame that these school boards are run by those that are not tech saavy at all. These are the same people that wouldn’t buy the cheapest car in the world because it only ran on gas that cost 20 $ bucks a gallon.
    So Dells are a few bucks cheaper, what about the cost of gas for those dells ? I mean the cost of a full time IT staff to rid the school system of a nasty virus etc. They are not looking at the total cost of ownership.
    And that is what’s wrong with this country.
    We want everything dirt cheap but dont want it made in China which is why the item is cheaply priced in the first place.
    How much would a toaster cost if all in the factory in CA. were making 25 doillars per hr. ? That’s my rant for the day

  3. Good old Cobb?? Do they really favour Creation instead of Evolution? Do evangelists really rule Cobb?? Why good old Cobb? Beyond the Apple laptop program, i don’t see nothing to call this the Good old Cobb.

  4. Investigate the switch to Dells? Absolutely!

    I think Cobb was on the right track with Macs, then they got duped into switching to Dells. How could the schools’ switch to windows possibly be an improvement, much less Dells?

    The only people who want Windows to succeed are all the IT Dept. people who’s jobs depend it. Who’s opinion does the school district probably give the most weight? The IT department. After all, they’re the ones who should know, right? All they know is that Windows requires their existence much more than Macs.

  5. Talk about evolution, seems like they’re moving back to primitive in Cobbs, Apple -> Dell. Uggh.

    /me agrees with Ron. Evolution should not be taught as fact, as it often is.

    MW: again; Cobb’s gone n tried to take the spotlight AGAIN!

  6. I have been thinking on this one. Trying to calculate the number of IT staff they will need to support 63000 Windows systems.

    I work in an environment that currently has 22000 users, and in that, only 9000 computers and 1000 Printers.

    Rounded staffing in my companies IT departments:
    25 – Desktop/Laptop Support
    5 – Hardware Support
    3 – Asset Management & Rollout
    5 – Web Development
    5 – Network Security
    15 – Server Support
    50 – Application Support (Database admin, etc.)
    15 – IT Supervisors and Managers
    Approximately 123 Full Time Employees

    There are a few more in various areas. Now if we are using that many on 9000 systems. As an estimate of what my company would use on 63000 systems, we would have to multiply many of the departments by about 6, and others by about 3-4.

    This means
    25 x 6 (150)- Deskside Support
    5 x 6 ( 30)- Hardware Support
    3 x 6 ( 18)- Asset Management & Rollout
    5 5 – Web Development
    5 x 3 ( 15)- Network Security
    15 15 – Server Support
    50 50 – Application Support (Database admin, etc.)
    15 x 2 ( 30)- IT Supervisors and Managers
    Estimated New Total 313 Full Time Employees
    That is an increase of 190 full time employees.

    Now take into account the school will not have as many SQL web-based applications and most likely not be using mainframe systems, and let’s assume that the school won’t need as many fulltime employees because they have students helping for no pay as part of their education. Even if using only 1/3 of that say 100 support personnel, with salaries of (Very Lowball) 35,000/year. That leaves them with an annual expense for support of $3,500,000 to support Windows based PCs in a school.

    It is known that Mac environments can run with usually 1/3 or fewer support personnel that are needed to support Windows. This means, in a Mac environment with 30 Full time support employees with student assistance. Making the same salaries comes out to $1,050,000 per year.

    That is a savings of 7 million dollars over the life of the contract just in support costs. Tell me they were not thinking. When they tried to push the Macs through.

  7. Cobb is not switching to Dell (at least not yet anyway).

    That would be Henrico. Totally different story.

    Cobb doesn’t know what they’re buying, yet. They’re still playing good old boy politics and will be for some time it seems.

  8. ron:

    “There are no atheists on survival rafts.”

    I don’t know about this, because I’ve never been on even one survivial raft, much less all of them that have ever been launched. Have you?

    Religion flourishes only because man cannot live without hope and refuses to accept the finality of death. And that’s fine; we are entitled, I suppose, to some comfort, no matter how small.

    However, we are not entitled to substitute fervently held belief for sound science. The evidence overwhelmingly supports the evolutionary hypothesis; yet one can hold as a belief (not a fact) that an intelligent supernatural being engineered the whole business. That is a matter that science cannot prove or disprove, therefore so-called “Creationism” or “Intelligent Design” do not rise to the level of science. In fact the claims cannot even be stated in a form that would allow them to be subjected to the scientific method.

    If “Creationism” or “Intelligent Design” were to be introduced into our schools they most appropriately belong in a course in comparative religion or the history of ideas. But not in a biology course.

  9. I think it’s only prudent, and unbiased, for the grand jury to also look into whether the school board members received any “enticements” in going with Dell. Well, they cast the first stone…

    You’re definitely right… I think they also need to investigate Former Commissioner Butch Thompson who brought up the class action lawsuit (after Apple won the bid). It seems to me if Butch Thompson was really concerned about the Cobb County residents and their not knowing exactly what was happening with the special tax in regards to the laptop program, he would have tried to stop the initiative WAY before the bidding process was complete. I really think Butch Thompson is biased toward Wintel and was going to make sure if Apple did win the bid, that the decision would be impeded!

  10. Beryllium,

    Thanks for your comment. Keeps me from having to type it all myself. There is mounds of data to support an evolutionary process, even though early data (ideas) may at times have been contradicted. You can’t overlook what we know, and have found.

    MDN “Slowly” and that’s no joke.

  11. beryllium:
    “The evidence overwhelmingly supports the evolutionary hypothesis;” ….

    Yeah right. There is NO evidence to support it and that’s what’s insane about people like yourself’s religious adherence to that THEORY.

    You also sound very elitist in your opinion on God and those who believe in him, but it’s going to be tough to maintain that attitude when you actually do meet him.

    BTW (for those who complain about off-topic posts): It’s not too hard to get a Grand Jury to get a case started.

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