State donates PCs to Washington school

State donates PCs to Washington school

Diane Tines, a teacher at Burville

Elementary students can access two computers in each classroom; department saves on disposal costs

By Frank Tiboni

GCN Staff

Students at Burville Elementary School in Washington are surfing the Web on PCs that once were in use at the State Department.

State's Administration Bureau recently donated 23 486 PCs running Microsoft Windows 95 to Burville through the government's Computers for Learning program. The Clinton administration launched the program in April 1996 as a way to help agencies dispose of excess computer hardware.

By donating old but working equipment to schools, agencies are able to eliminate storage costs and lessen disposal costs, said Dan Young, who manages the effort in State's Logistics Management Office.

President Clinton established the program in Executive Order 12999, which said: 'The program's goal is to ensure that American children have the skills they need to succeed in the information-intensive 21st century.'

Schools and nonprofit educational organizations register for government surplus computers via the Web, at Agencies then use the site to find schools accepting donations. Many moving companies also participate in the program and will deliver the computers for free, Young said.

'This is definitely a 'win-win,' ' said Patrick Kennedy, State's assistant secretary for administration.

'Students get the technology to make them competitive in the 21st century, and the State Department saves money by reducing storage costs and not having to pay for shipment of our surplus stocks,' he said.

State's donation let Burville put two PCs in every classroom. Before getting the 486s, students could use computers in the school's science lab only on a strict schedule, said Donny Rutlidge, Burville's technology resources director.

'We hope to keep our partnership with the State Department,' said Linda Johnson, Burville's librarian, who noted that groups of students can use the PCs in their own classrooms as well as in the library.

Burville has received 40 computers from State, she said, and 'we're very grateful.'

According to General Services Administration figures, the government surpluses about 500,000 computers each year. Statistics on the Computers for Learning Web site note that 11 agencies have donated about 11,000 computers to 1,100 schools nationwide since the program began.

'Less paperwork and helping kids and schools who really need these computers brings out the best in public servants,' Young said.

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