HOUMA — A new state law allows schools to sell old computers to students, but school administrators say tough budget realities mean students should probably look elsewhere.
Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes each have about 7,500 desktop computers circulating in their school systems. When those computers are pulled out of service, school districts are required to either send them to other state agencies or to a state recycling program.
The new law gives schools a third option — sell the computers to students seeking cheap, old computers.
But local school technology supervisors said tight fiscal times mean opportunities to set up such a sale will be rare.
“We basically use a computer until it’s broken,” said Ben Gautreaux, IT manager for Lafourche schools. “By the time we’re getting rid of it, it’s not just obsolete. It’s usually not even functional.”
Chris Babin, network administrator for Terrebonne schools, said his system seldom has usable spare computers either.
“We almost never end up with used machines because we cannibalize parts for other computers,” Babin said. “Usually what you see is a pile of rummaged parts.”
Even if school districts found themselves with spare computers on hand, some officials said selling them to students could present logistical problems.
“I know this is something the state has sent down to us, but I have a problem with this,” said Terrebonne School Board member L.P. Bordelon, as he voted against allowing such sales at a board meeting Tuesday. “I think it’s going to be cumbersome for us to try to figure out who gets these computers and who doesn’t.”