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Maine makes student laptop, iPad contract open to others

The state of Maine will make the contract it uses to negotiate for new devices like MacBooks and iPads in its schools open to other states, according to NBC affiliate WFMJ. In 2000, then-Maine Gov. Angus King foresaw that a digital divide was growing between wealthy and poor students. Wealthy students had access to technology like laptops while poor students did not. To bridge that divide, King worked with the state and the education board to distribute 30,000 laptops to seventh and eighth grade students by 2003.

According to King, Steve Jobs wanted in on the program so badly that he allowed Apple to take a loss on the contract to win it. Maine currently uses 70,000 MacBooks in middle schools and high schools across the country. The state pays an annual price between US$217 and $314 per laptop.

Now that the current contract is set to expire, the state has started to look at new technology to replace the aging MacBooks. Among the devices they are considering are "four-year leases with annual costs of $217 for an iPad, $273 for the MacBook Air, $254.86 for an HP Probook, $314.28 for an HP ElitePad and $294 for a CTL 2go Classmate PC with swivel screen and stylus," according to WFMJ. The state is also making its contract available to other states that want a model for similar programs.

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