One school district’s surplus is another district’s gain

11:02 am November 16th, 2012

The Kent School District has partnered with the Eatonville School District by sharing 200 surplus laptops from its One-to-One program.
The Kent district is the fourth-largest in the state with approximately 27,000 students and is internationally recognized as a leader in the use of instructional technology, officials said. Through One-to-One, every Kent student entering the seventh grade is provided a laptop they carry with them through high school graduation. Officials said the goal is consistent and equitable access to computer resources for all students.
The laptops are continually updated and maintained. Each year, the district surpluses approximately 2,000 of them – all still in good shape but no longer compatible with new system and software platforms used by the district.
Garth Steedman, the human resources and business manager for the Eatonville district, made a request last summer for surplus laptops that could benefit the district’s students. Chris Loftis, an Eatonville resident and public affairs executive director for Kent schools, took the request to his district’s superintendent and School Board. The board agreed, and after the devices were updated, “scrubbed” of all Kent data and given a clean bill of health from the district’s information technology (IT) team, Eatonville students and teachers are now seeing more technology resources available, Loftis said.
“We are pleased to partner with Eatonville School District and put these laptops to good use,” said Kent superintendent Edward Lee Vargas. “We know how much our students benefit from having modern technology available to help them learn, and we believe students from every district should have the same opportunity.”
Eatonville superintendent Rich Stewart thanked the Kent district “for the opportunity to provide technology access to many of our students as we are beginning a checkout system that will enhance student productivity. Our team works hard to provide our students with every opportunity we can afford them, and we appreciate the laptops and so will our students.”
Eatonville school staffs are distributing the laptops throughout their elementary, middle and high schools. The district is saving approximately $200,000 by using the surplus computers rather than buying new ones, officials said.
“As an Eatonville resident, parent and spouse of an Eatonville teacher, I appreciate (the Eatonville district) looking out for our kids and our tax dollars” said Loftis. “With the current state of the economy, every district in the state has to look at creative ways to make our systems work. I know that superintendent Vargas and the Kent School Board are very happy to see these resources maximized so that every student in every district has the opportunity for accessible technology.”
Steedman noted that many of the Eatonville district students “are geographically isolated and don’t have access to computers. Getting these laptops is great for the district because it means that many more kids in more schools will now have better access to technology-based learning. This is a win-win for everybody.”

Jory Mezen, computer support specialist for the Eatonville School District, picked up 200 laptops from the Kent School District the first week of November and is now distributing them to schools and students. Mezen (right) is showing one of the laptops to Eatonville resident and a KSD senior administrator, Chris Loftis who helped coordinate the transfer. (Courtesy photo)

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