As Woody said...often the "communication problem" is more a software problem
than a platform problem. Yes, your Appleworks can open word documents...but
not many PC folk have appleworks (even though they sell a PC version). Even
though I use macs at home and school, I am flexible on both platforms...it
doesn't matter to me. Software is the key! Also versions of software! Especially
now with new PC machines having Office...XP and the macs going OSX..there
have been some glitches because programs that used to be dual platform now don't
work they way they used to!
So....yes MS Office is expensive, however, my school has a license that
allows teachers to have it on their home machines. I use a lap top and 90% of what
I do on my computer I do for school. So, I was able to have MS office
installed on my machine.
Check w/your tech folks and see what kind of license your district has. Also
as Woody said, the education version (which is usually the same as the
regular...I believe there is no Data base program) is far less expensive. You could
also go with an older version of the software...but given you are going to OS
X that probably is not an option for you.