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Georgia schools say Apple's peachy

School district is recommending its school board pursue deal to equip teachers and students with Mac laptops.

Apple Computer is on the verge of securing one of its biggest education deals ever, with a Georgia school district leaning toward purchasing tens of thousands of Mac laptops.

The Cobb County School District, located in the Atlanta suburbs, is recommending that its school board pursue a deal with Apple to equip all teachers in the county, along with all high school and middle school students, with Apple laptops. The school district is recommending that the board implement the laptop purchase in stages, with the first phase consisting of giving laptops to teachers and to four schools on a test basis, according to a statement posted on the district's Web site.

Details of the proposal will be discussed at a meeting Wednesday, with the board slated to vote on the first phase of the Apple deal next month.

"Apple is thrilled to work with Cobb County on this ambitious proposal to create the largest 1 to 1 computer learning initiative ever," an Apple representative told CNET Tuesday. "We've seen remarkable results from 1 to 1 learning programs and find that the educational benefits reach far beyond the classroom."

Once king of the education market, Apple has lost ground to a number of Windows-based rivals, especially Dell. In recent years, Apple has focused much of its attention on so-called one-to-one deals, in which school systems buy laptops for every student in a particular grade. The company has scored large deals in Maine and Virginia, among other places.

Apple has said its efforts are paying off, although competition remains tough. Last month, the company noted that it had its best December quarter for education sales in seven years. The company said its total revenue was up 20 percent from a year earlier, while unit sales were up 11 percent. Higher education sales grew faster, at 25 percent, but K-12 grew 15 percent, amid strong demand for both the iMac and iBook.