The company did not make enough money selling the hand-rinsing stations this year to cover the cost of their production, according to a filing outlining its profits and losses for 2023.
“While it is early in the legal process, it appears the company has intentions to remain operational,” a spokesperson for Cobb schools said in an emailed statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday. “All items we have purchased have been installed and we do not have any outstanding expenditures with 3Oe.”
Cobb’s current contract with the company is set to expire on Nov. 30, but the district has the option to renew. The spokesperson did not respond to a question about whether the district will renew the contract.
3Oe Scientific stated in an email to the AJC that it is working on its bankruptcy plan of reorganization to submit to the court soon, but couldn’t provide any additional information.
The hand-rinsing devices used in Cobb incorporate a low concentration of aqueous ozone in the stream of water it sprays onto a user’s hand. The 3Oe Scientific website says aqueous ozone kills the virus that causes COVID-19. Some experts think there’s not enough evidence yet to confirm that.
The district spent $9.7 million on the machines as of September 2022, records obtained by the AJC at the time showed.
Laura Judge, a Cobb parent who is running for a school board seat but has long criticized the hand-rinsing stations as a member of the Watching the Funds-Cobb parents group, said the filing shocked her.
“That purchase always concerned me,” she said. “Seeing how much in assets the company has now, it makes me wonder where our millions are going.”
The machines cost more than $14,000 each, according to the most recent contract with Cobb. A review of records obtained by the AJC last year found that the machines had malfunctioned more than 100 times, with more than half of Cobb’s elementary and middle schools submitting at least one maintenance request related to the machines.
The district’s purchase of the machines, as well as UV-sanitation devices and the AlertPoint crisis alert system, prompted an investigation into the district’s spending practices. A grand jury found the district had a “clear pattern” of not following its own purchasing policies, although it didn’t find that any laws were broken.