WATERVILLE — Douglas County is replacing about half of their government computers. But instead of going through the process of listing the old ones as surplus, they’re donating them to local schools.
Last week, county commissioners delivered 35 computers to the Bridgeport School District. The next set will be given to Mansfield, and any other school in the county that wants them.
“For what little we would have gotten on surplus, it’s a much larger value to support our children,” said Commissioner Kyle Steinburg, who supported the idea and then — along with Commissioner Steve Jenkins — called local schools to find out if any were interested.
Juan Sanchez, director of the county’s information systems, said about 135 desktop computers and 20 laptops will eventually be available to donate, once his department erases their hard drives and installs new operating systems.
It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually much easier than what it takes to surplus them, he said.
In the past, when the county declared computers as surplus, they took out and destroyed the hard drives. Then, the parts went to Goodwill in East Wenatchee, which serves as this region’s E-Cycling center, Sanchez said.
He said the county also tried to sell them on E-Bay, but without a hard drive, the computers are pretty much useless. “People would buy them in lots — a whole pallet for $10 or $20. We were spending a lot more than that to prepare them,” he said, adding, “With the schools, we went through a destruction of the data, and then we were able to give them a working computer.”
Sanchez said once the schools have what they want, they’ll offer them up to non-profits.
He credited the commissioners for finding a better solution for their old technology. “We found a second home for them. It’s a win-win,” he said.