Schools benefit from little-known government surplus program

Christmas has come early for more than 15 school districts who will be dividing up $500,000 worth of free government surplus technology equipment. The Pentagon’s Defense Reutilization Management Office (DRMO) makes the technology available to schools as federal agencies receive new equipment.

Twenty-six pallets of technology items were delivered to the Corunna Public Schools bus garage over the weekend and will be distributed this week to schools in the area and to school districts as far away as Ontonagon and Ewen-Trout Creek in the Upper Peninsula.

For several years, Cindy Knight, president of her MEA local and an Owosso Middle School secretary, has played a major role in getting the equipment out to schools in Shiawassee County and all across Michigan. She said, “This is a great program to take advantage of. This is something I really enjoy doing. This is for the kids.”

Here’s how the program works. Every six months, the Pentagon gets new computers. The hard drives in the old computers are removed and “cleaned” of any information. After 20 days, the equipment is made available to other federal agencies, and 20 days after that, it’s available to schools.

Each pallet holds 56 computers and this recent truckload brought laptops with batteries and cases, docking stations and printers and two servers. Each school district can expect to receive at least two pallets.

To be able to take part in the program, schools have to sign up and register to be a card-carrying members through the DRMO warehouse. Through their membership, Owosso and Corunna schools received a delivery of equipment in June worth more than $300,000. This time they’re sharing with other school districts.