Wisconsin schools to share $80 million Microsoft settlement


As a result of a class-action lawsuit settlement with Microsoft Corp., vouchers worth about $80 million are in the mail to districts across Wisconsin to help 800 low-income schools secure new technology, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Department of Public Instruction said low-income schools may begin using their vouchers immediately to reimburse for certain hardware and software purchases made since last June, or use the vouchers to fund new technology purchases. The influx of funds is substantial, but district technology directors say the money cannot plug the holes left by wider budget shortfalls. The pool of money available is part of the $224 million settlement Wisconsin reached with Microsoft in 2006, in a case where plaintiffs claimed Microsoft had stifled competition and broken state antitrust laws by overcharging consumers for software and computers. Microsoft denied any wrongdoing, but reached similar class-action settlements with a number of other states. After the deadline passed for consumers to submit claims for vouchers from their Microsoft purchases, the unclaimed funds were allocated to low-income schools to help them improve students’ access to technology…

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