Apple's $37.2 million deal with US state Maine to supply iBooks to seventh graders is going ahead – despite protests from a local senator.

Despite Maine’s budget shortfall of $240 million, seventh graders in five schools received the notebooks in an initiative organized by state govenor Angus King.

But senator Kenneth Gagnon told "When roofs are leaking and there are schools with air quality issues, I'm not so sure this is the best use of money."

Two state representatives approached Maine attorney general Steven Rowe in July to find a way out of the state's multi-million dollar contract. Cancelling the project would have cost $100,000.

Senior politicians in Virginia have also expressed reservations about a deal with Apple to supply 23,000 iBooks to Henrico County public schools. Students are reported to have used their iBooks to download pornography and MP3s, to play games and to engage in hacking.

However, Maine officials have taken precautions to prevent their students from abusing their machines. Teacher training and bespoke technical support have been identified as areas in which extra support will be given to combat the problem.