Teachers’ Pension Gives Students Free Home Computers
Surplus Computers Get Second Life to Help Learning

News release

SACRAMENTO, CA – West Sacramento public school students will soon have computers at home to help their learning thanks to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). On September 24 officials from the Washington Unified School District and CalSTRS board chair Dana Dillon will present the first 25 computers to Elkhorn Village Elementary School sixth graders and their families.

CalSTRS is giving a total of 134 used, surplus computers to the West Sacramento Educational Foundation, a nonprofit corporation created by local officials, community advocates and business leaders to provide funding for successful education programs within the Washington Unified School District.

“As a teacher, I know how success at school starts at home. Giving the computers a second life with these students and their families is one way for us to help them succeed,” said Dana Dillon, Teachers’ Retirement Board Chair.

The used computers are reconditioned by volunteers and local teens receiving computer repair training from Computers4Kids, a collaboration of the local business and education communities that includes the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce. Computers4Kids works to ensure computers reach all fourth, fifth, and sixth graders in West Sacramento who would have no opportunity to acquire computers on their own.

“I’d like to commend CalSTRS for this fantastic gift to the West Sacramento community and its students,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell. “Our students are part of a fast-paced and technology-driven world, and the more we can do to prepare them, the more successful they’ll be.”

CalSTRS selected the West Sacramento Educational Foundation to receive the used computers because CalSTRS is constructing a new headquarters there, which will be completed by June 2009.

“We’re building a relationship with the West Sacramento community in support of the dedication our members show to California’s youth. Our members spend their lives in the classroom giving their students the tools they need for a fruitful, productive life,” said Jack Ehnes, CalSTRS Chief Executive Officer. “These computers can help ensure no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

With a $169 billion investment portfolio, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System is the second-largest public pension fund in the U.S. It administers retirement, disability and survivor benefits for California’s 795,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,400 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts.