Surprise! Waste in the stimulus - local edition

Illinois School District 150 in Peoria is being forced to install 81 new HP desktop computers with flat screen monitors along with 17 SMART Board electronic whiteboards at Woodruff High School. This hardware was EARMARKED for the school in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (AKA Porkulus).

“So what! That’s what Porkulus was intended to do!” you say?

Well, here’s the problem… The school district is going to close that school at the end of this school year, just a couple of months away. The district technology director would rather have the computers and SMART boards installed at a different school. She thinks they would be better where they would get some long term use. Assuming they get them installed quickly, they will have use of them for at most 4 months. More likely they will take some time to get installed.

The technology director, Mary Ward, has been trying to get them installed at one of the other schools, but it’s not going to happen. Once something is run by the government, common sense no longer applies. The bureaucracy won’t let them do it.

The state has told them that if they want the money for the equipment and installation costs it MUST be installed at Woodruff High. There is no reasoning with the monster. Ms. Ward has given up trying. She’s going to have the computers installed “in a mobile fashion” instead of a more permanent manner so they can be moved when the students move. At least she’s trying….

Not to worry though… according to the reporter “Installation costs also are being paid by the stimulus dollars so the district will not have to foot the bill for the time spent.” Except the tax payers will have to foot the bill. And the District will have to pay someone to deinstall and reinstall the equipment. And to move it. And to test it once it’s moved. And hope that things don’t get lost or broken in the move.

Another stimulus success story!!!!

P.S. If you’re wondering about the SMART boards, they’re a white board system that allows the teacher to capture what’s written on the board electronically. There’s one listed on Amazon.com for $1299. There’s a whole suite of software tools that the district could buy for extra costs.

**** This article is based on a report in the Peoria Journal Star, Jan 30, 2010 page A10. For some reason, that story isn’t listed in their online edition as of this morning. http://www.pjstar.com/