Ready to junk that ol' dinosaur of a computer?

Take it to any bank in the state and you'll help schoolchildren - and prison inmates - broaden their horizons.That's the promise of a new Computers for Schools refurbishing program, kicked off Friday with Gov. Mike Leavitt making a deposit - a hardware deposit, that is - at Bank of Utah, 711 S. State.

"This moves what otherwise would be a surplus pile into our schools," Leavitt said, projecting 3,000 computers will be distributed to schools each year.

Everyone wins in the program, Leavitt said. Businesses and community members can make a contribution and get a tax deduction. State prisoners get a chance to pick up skills that can make them more marketable upon release. Schools receive the computers for $100 apiece.

"More computers are needed to help students learn computer skills and explore the world of knowledge. But few schools have the budget to buy enough computers," said Howard Headlee, president of the Utah Bankers Association. "Recycling computers is part of the answer."

United Parcel Service will transport donated computers to Utah Correctional Industries free of charge. Inmates at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison are learning to clean, repair and upgrade the computers, which will be distributed to public schools. Training has been provided by the Sevier Valley Applied Technology Center.

The program, developed by the Detwiler Foundation in California, received $500,000 from the 1998 Legislature under a bill sponsored by Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, and Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper.

"This is an easy give for a tax deduction that will benefit our schools," Allen said.

The program is a partnership of agencies including the Utah Bankers Association, the Utah State Office of Education, Utah Correctional Industries and the Utah Taxpayers Association.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Computers for schools

Surplus computer equipment - it doesn't have to work - can be taken to any bank in Utah. Computers should be packaged in a cardboard box, which can be sealed after an inspection.

Requested items include:

- Desktop system processors: 386, 486 or 586

- Monitors: VGA/SVGA or better

- Mouse and keyboards

- 3.5 floppy disk drives

- 4+ MB RAM or 80+ MB hard drives

- Mac II or better with RAM and hard drives intact

- Cables

- CD-ROM drives 4X or faster

- Ink, bubblejet or laser printers

- Modems

- New and sealed software

Call 1-800-939-6000 for more information or to make large contributions.