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Maine Department of Education, J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner

For Release December 1, 2001

Department Makes Conditional Contract Award for School Computer Initiative

Conditional award to Apple Computer for computers, wireless networks, and training is the latest step forward for the Maine Learning Technology Endowment.

Contact:  Yellow Light Breen, 624-6620, pager 851-2436

The State of Maine Division of Purchases and the Maine Department of Education announced today that Apple Computer, Inc. was selected as the top-scoring bidder for the Maine Learning Technology Wireless Classroom Solution.  The Department issued a request for proposals on September 14, 2001 for a four-year agreement to provide portable, wireless computers, wireless networks, teacher training, and related services to equip all seventh and eighth grade students and teachers as provided by the plan for the Maine Learning Technology Endowment.

This award is a conditional award, subject to successful negotiation of an agreement and State Purchases Review Committee approval.  The Department will now enter into negotiations with Apple Computer, Inc. in order to finalize the terms and conditions of the agreement for the State’s Wireless Classroom Solution.  If negotiations are unsuccessful, the Department may enter into negotiations with the next highest scoring bidder.

The Department received several bids.  A scoring team comprising Department personnel, educators, and technical experts reviewed the bids against pre-established criteria, including observation of existing school deployments by the top finalists.

Joanne Steneck, Project Director of the Maine Learning Technology Endowment, commented, “The Department was fortunate to receive several high-quality bids.  Apple Computer prevailed in a competitive contest.  We look forward to negotiating with Apple to close this deal.  A successful agreement will benefit Maine schools by a tremendous partnership with one of the world’s leading educational technology companies.”

Under the plan approved by the Legislature for the Maine Learning Technology Endowment, all seventh grade students and teachers will begin using portable, wireless computers in the Fall of 2002, and all eighth grade students and teachers will be equipped the following year.  Today’s award announcement is the latest of several steps taken this Fall to move the plan toward reality, including: the creation of a lead project team within the Department; the appointment of an Advisory Board of leading Maine educators and citizens, as required by statute; statewide discussions with middle school teachers, school superintendents and principals; and the design of a teacher development program, with the solicitation of major grant support.

The Governor, Legislative leaders, and the Department of Education will issue a formal announcement and full comment in several weeks upon the conclusion of successful negotiations and the execution of an agreement.

23 State House Station  l  Augusta, ME 04333-0023

Telephone:  (207) 624-6600 / TTD:  (207) 624-6800

Updates and background information regarding the Maine Learning Technology Endowment are available on the website at .