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The computer lab at Spreckels Elementary School in University City needs some upgrades. The 33 antiquated Macintosh desktops, purchased in 1997, are running on old operating systems and crashing on basic commands. The computers are unable support new educational software and they lack the upgrades needed for multiple users to access educational websites.

“The computers in our lab are now 12 years old,” stated Spreckels principal Cecilia Fernandez in a press release. “We want the best resources available for our students and we hope the community will join us in our efforts to provide a computer lab where we can effectively teach them the critical 21st century computer skills they’ll need to succeed throughout their education.”

But, there’s little backup coming from the San Diego Unified School District. The school has no money for the upgrades, the school board is offering little support, and the PTA is overloaded with demands for other classroom needs.

In response, community members are working to raise $40,000 for a new computer lab. The funds will purchase 35 new computers, a projector with a document camera, and two new printers.

They’re raising the money through community drives, and, so far, support from local business and restaurants is streaming in. In December, a local bicycle shop helped raise $3800 after donating a scooter for a school raffle.

This Valentine’s Day, the community is launching another fundraiser. Several businesses have signed on to help. A local realtor is printing up 5000 pamphlets, and the community newsletter is offering free space for advertisement.

Stacy Torgeson, spokesperson for the fundraising efforts, says the charity has received approximately $3000 worth of products from local businesses for the Valentine’s Day drawing.

So far, 13 local restaurants contributed $100 in Valentine’s Day gift certificates. Several other businesses, including hair salons and natural food stores, have also donated products and services.

For more data on how you can “chip” in, visit spreckelsweb.net.

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Comments

JohnnyVegas Jan. 23, 2009 @ 3:03 p.m.

$40K for 35 computers and 2 printers?? Are they kidding?

I can purchase desktop refurbhished Dell's with Pentium 4 processors running Windows XP (they dont need ANYTHING more than this), for 190.00 per comuter INCLUDING shipping.

I can pick up a good high quality refurbished workhorse HP 4050 laser printers for $100 each.

Total = $6,800 and change. 85% less than $40K.

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Fred Williams Jan. 23, 2009 @ 5:25 p.m.

Johnny, don't be quite so hasty.

There's certainly some networking involved, projectors are expensive (but really worth it when teaching or making a presentation), and they've probably also included the costs for software licenses, support and maintenance.

If the school is buying it, that adds more to the costs because they can usually only get stuff from pre-approved vendors.

I recently did an estimate on equipping a similar classroom environment for technical training, so while the school's price is on the high end, it's not unreasonable.

If the school is buying Macs, then the price they're getting is quite good.

Remember, while you or I could buy refurbished XP boxes, the school district probably requires by policy that they buy better and newer equipment.

So while you're making the point that equipment can be had for less, it's not apples to apples in this case.

Besides, I'm a fan of classrooms equipped with computers. It's a better investment than many other things our schools spend money on.

Best,

Fred

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 23, 2009 @ 6:21 p.m.

If the school is buying it, that adds more to the costs because they can usually only get stuff from pre-approved vendors.

The school is not buying the network system, they are raising private funds.

I think the $40K is so far off base it isn't funny.

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 23, 2009 @ 6:26 p.m.

If the school is buying Macs, then the price they're getting is quite good.

Remember, while you or I could buy refurbished XP boxes, the school district probably requires by policy that they buy better and newer equipment.

So while you're making the point that equipment can be had for less, it's not apples to apples in this case.

No reason to buy Macs. In fact if education is to prepare the students for work in the real world then you not only need a Windows computer, but it is mandatory because 95% of the systems run Windows in business.

As to the requirement that the district buy new ( or newer) equipement, a refurbished Dell is just that. It is warranted the same as a new one.

My position is they have dinosaurs right now- systems 10 years old in a technology where 2-4 years is the norm for becoming antiquated. So ANYTHING really is a huge improvment.

This is why people do not trust government IMO.

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riken19 Jan. 27, 2009 @ 11:12 p.m.

The school is required to purchase from the district in order to receive on-going support and maintenance on the computers. We do have parents experienced in this field currently researching less expensive options, but as things stand right now, the price for the computers ready to go for the students to use is around $1,000 each. The price quoted is for new Macs - which after doing research we found is preferred by the teachers and is the current standard for school computer labs.

Beyond the printers (one color and one b&w), the price also includes the projector with document camera - which is the modern, hi-tech version of the overhead projectors we grew up with - and yes, that is on the expensive side.

We looked into options of purchasing refurbished computers, but for many reasons, beyond on-going maintenance felt that new, top quality computers were the best choice for our students given that odds are we will have to use them for several years to come. Our students deserve more than a modest improvement from what we have, they deserve to be equipped with the best resources available.

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