Despite the economic turmoil, Maine is expanding its program to provide laptop computers to students.
Maine started its first-in-the-nation program by distributing more than 30,000 computers to each seventh- and eighth-grader in all of the state’s public schools in 2002 and 2003. Now the goal is to provide a laptop to every public school student in grades 7-12 by the fall.
About 30 high schools already have laptops that they obtained outside the scope of the original program. But now all 120 of Maine’s high schools, along with 241 middle schools, will have new laptops under the same program, at a cost of about $242 per computer per year, said Education Commissioner Susan Gendron.
Education Department officials announced this week that they’re negotiating a four-year lease with Apple Inc. for 100,000 Apple MacBook laptops.