By Staff Sgt. Patrice Clarke
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In this case, one base’s excess is a much needed upgrade for a local school district’s computer program. Members of the 50th Space Communications Squadron equipment custodian office helped facilitate the Computers for Learning donation of 10 excess flat panel monitors from here to the Ellicott School District May 24.
The Ellicott School District has more than 100 outdated monitors spread throughout the different schools in the district. Steven Schoonover, Ellicott School District technology coordinator, had tried for years before to acquire monitors through the CFL program with no luck.
“Within the last eight months, Col. [Jonathan] Webb [50th Mission Support Group commander] came out to the school for a tour and noticed the older equipment we had and offered to help streamline the process,” said Schoonover.
According to the CFL program, the program allows schools and educational nonprofit organizations to view and select the computer equipment that federal agencies have reported as excess. Direct transfers are authorized by law through 15 USC 3710(i).
Schriever routinely refreshes technology equipment, marking the usable equipment for excess.
“Monitors are usually refreshed every four years, computers every three and printers every five years,” said Tech. Sgt. John Austin, NCO in charge of the Base Equipment Custodian Office. “We have the equipment here on a long-term quarterly schedule where some equipment on base is being refreshed every quarter.”
Whenever there is excess that is still usable, BECO can mark the equipment for reutilization with the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service. The DRMS then adds this equipment to the CFL website for schools and educational nonprofits to view and select.
“This program is extremely helpful to us,” said Schoonover. “Some of these CRT monitors have been in place since before I started here more than six years ago. I haven’t replaced them because they are still working and we are trying to save money. With this program and this donation, we saved around $1,000 today.”
With the donation, the district is also saving money in future energy costs with the more energy-efficient flat panel monitors.
“If feels good to help out the local school district like this,” said Austin. “Even on this small scale it’s going to make a big difference to these students. The process itself is complicated but well worth it in the end if it saves the school some money.”
The monitors donated will mainly go in the student computer laboratories throughout the district.
Besides the cost savings, understanding the process for future donations was one of the best outcomes of the day’s events for Schoonover.
“I just really appreciate everyone who came out to help with this process,” said Schoonover. “Now that we have done this once, we know what we are doing. Hopefully, we will be able to use the CFL program to replace all the outdated monitors we have here.”
Webb expressed the same sentiment.
“Schriever Air Force Base is fortunate to be partnered with Ellicott because of their commitment to support our military community,” said Webb. “The recent transfer of monitors through the Computers for Learning Program is hopefully just the beginning of the support the Department of Defense can provide to our school district. We’ll continue to work hard to build on our relationship, which will benefit all children in District 22.”