ESD considers putting end to laptop surplus program

Put into effect by the Foundation for Edmonds School District (FESD), the laptop surplus program, is on the brink of being discontinued. Currently, the program works to distribute old and extra laptops used by the district to low-income families for free.

“For whatever reason, I think this program just never got off the ground,” principal Greg Schwab said. “I’m not sure if there were some barriers to this that prevented students and families from accessing this resource or if it was that we already had enough computers available for students here at school.”

Previously, the laptops were used by students within the district, but were refurbished to give to others. FESD’s website notes that the program was dedicated to “bridging the digital divide,” and increasing student academic success.

But with the integration of Chromebooks into the district due to a technology levy, the older laptops are not only outdated but in low supply for uses “other than the e-cycle bin,” executive director of FESD Deb Anderson, wrote.

“As a mom… I feel like we should continue it.ESD Director of District Four April Nowak said. “But if it’s not being used, then what’s the point? Someone [has] to be able to use [the surplus], or someone [has] be able to refurbish it.”

However, not many attempts are being made to sell the laptops due to little or no market value. Older laptops will be recycled through a free Washington state program with the computers being given to company called Total Reclaim for proper disposal.

“If it is determined that it would be beneficial to continue the [laptop surplus] program in some capacity, then we will assess, in partnership with the [Edmonds School] District, what that might look like,” Anderson stated. He also mentioned that the Foundation has been asked to deliberate continuing the program.

FESD distributed approximately 100 laptops on December 3rd to families who had already submitted an application and were picked by a “lottery system” used to determine winners. A second distribution will be on March 30th, 2016, where 115 laptops are anticipated to be given away. Applications are still available on the Foundation’s website for the dispersion in March.

Additionally, over the next two years the district plans to pair Chromebooks with each high school student, following what has been done for ESD middle school students.