These used computers don't byte

There might be no such thing as a free lunch, but Klahowya Secondary School students have discovered there are free computers.

School administrators are giving away 25 computers, donated by government agencies and businesses, to students who reported that they didn’t have the machines at home.

Computer maintenance students installed modems and operating systems in the PCs, Klahowya Principal Katharine Gleysteen said. The cost to the school was slightly more than $600.

Eventually, administrators hope to have teachers available in the evenings to answer students’ homework questions via e-mail, according to Gleysteen. For now students have free Internet access through the Kitsap Regional Library.

“It’s similar to a textbook checkout. The students can keep them until they leave our school,” Gleysteen said. “If they’re not returned there will be a $75 fine.”

On Wednesday, April 10, school officials invited families to the school for an informational session and distributed 13 of the machines.

Many parents said they first thought the deal was too good to be true.

“The kids came home and told us about it, and I was thinking, ‘Boy I hope this happens,’” Kenne Briggs said.

Added her husband Wes: “It’ll be nice to be connected to the world through something besides a telephone.”

The Briggs family lives 20 miles from the nearest library, and the machine will make history and biology projects easier, said sophomore Jenna Briggs.

“This will give them a chance to teach their parents, too,” Kenne said.

Seventh-grader Warren Danford said he plans to use the IBM computer for a school project on home construction.

“Keeping in communication with teachers will be a good thing for me,” said parent Molly Graham.

If the computers break, families need only bring them to the school for repair by a computer maintenance class, Gleysteen said.

“There are no restrictions on what you can do with it,” Gleysteen told the families.

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