Few residents turn out for Piedmont computer auction
by Laura Gaddy
lbjohnson@annistonstar.com
Jun 17, 2013 | 4608 views |  0 comments | 175 175 recommendations | email to a friend | print
People gather to look over some of the examples of the 500 laptop computers at Piedmont Elementary School that they were auctioning off today. There were 4 categories of laptops ranging in price starting at $200 and going up to $300 starting bids depending on the condition of the computers. Photo by Stephen Gross.
People gather to look over some of the examples of the 500 laptop computers at Piedmont Elementary School that they were auctioning off today. There were 4 categories of laptops ranging in price starting at $200 and going up to $300 starting bids depending on the condition of the computers. Photo by Stephen Gross.
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PIEDMONT — School officials in Piedmont were surprised by the relatively small number of people who attended a computer auction there today, but said the event still gave residents the chance to help bridge the digital divide in Piedmont.

About 50 people, including children and adults, attended the auction at which the school system offered 500 used MacBook computers. While turnout didn’t match the school officials’ expectations, they said it still served its purpose.

“Our goal initially was for our students and community to have the opportunity to purchase and I think we’ve given them that opportunity,” said Superintendent Matt Akin.

The system is selling the first generation of computers it used for an ongoing initiative to issue laptops to each student in grades four through 12 in 2010.

This year the school system is replacing the computers it issued three years ago, and it began selling the older devices at the Monday auction. The machines that were not purchased will be sold in bulk, Akin said.

System officials were concerned that a company, a school or another large organization would come to the sale and outbid residents. But no such bidder was identified at the sale, and each resident who bid on a device was able to purchase one.

Most of the people who attended were Piedmont residents, but some came from neighboring communities and at least one came from as far away as Talladega. Some buyers, like Piedmont residents Alvie Ponder and Ray Bishop, came to buy computers for their grandchildren.

Others, like Theresa Benefield and Andrew Johnson, came to purchase computers for recent high school graduates. A few parents said they were at the sale to buy devices for children who attend schools without technology initiatives.

Piedmont parents and grandparents who attended said they were there to buy the devices, because learning to use the computers has changed the way their children and grandchildren learn.

“I think that computer did more for my grandson than any educational tool in the past 30 years,” said Bishop.

Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.

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