The nation's first large-scale school laptop program appears headed for expansion, regardless of whether state lawmakers vote to fund the initiative next year.

Maine's education commissioner has obtained assurances from at least 47 superintendents that they're ready to press forward with laptops in high schools this fall, giving her confidence that a deal can be struck with Apple Computer.

Susan Gendron said the commitments bring her closer to the minimum level of 8,400 students and teachers necessary for Apple to lease laptops to the state for $300 apiece per year, with training and


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