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Local winery pours resources into school district
Madeline Hillis works at a computer at Dutcher Middle School during her integrated technology class on Friday. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN / The Journal
Thanks to E. & J. Gallo Winery students in the Turlock Unified School District will have a few dozen more computers on which to research everything from the classics to modern art.
The TUSD Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to accept 125 computers donated by the winery. The used computers are estimated to have a current market value of $25,000.
Judi Green, information systems manager for the District, said that a member of TUSD contacted Gallo when they learned that the winery was upgrading their computer systems. Gallo offered to donate 65 IBM laptops and 60 EVO desktops to the District.
The laptop computers will be distributed to all schools in the District. Green said that the plan is to have laptops available in every school library for students and teachers to check out. Some of the laptops will also go to special education students who have difficulty writing with a pencil or pen.
Half of the desktop computers will go to Pitman High School’s business lab. The other half will go to a classroom at Turlock High School.
“Our biggest need is at our high schools, as far as newer and upgraded equipment goes,” Green said.
There are around 3,500 computers in the Turlock Unified School District currently. Green said that some computers are older than others, and it is up to each school to purchase and upgrade equipment.
TUSD does receive offers of donated computers, but Green said it is rare to get so many computers in one donation. The last large donation was two years ago, when the Turlock Irrigation District gave 70 of their used computers to the school district.  
Green said that the District welcomes donated computers, but there are some minimum standards a computer has to meet in order to be compatible with the District’s networks and current equipment.
“If we can’t use it, I have to dispose of it,” Green said.
The District accepts new and gently used computers, preferably no more than one or two years old. TUSD computers need to have at least 512 megabytes of RAM and at least 1.5 GHz of processing power. Green said that they prefer donations of computers with a Pentium 4 processor or higher.
Turlock students and teachers use classroom computers for instruction and online research. Green estimated that at least 60 percent of students have computer access at home, but TUSD has never done an official survey. Students who do not have home access to a computer often use school computers to research class projects and type essays and other assignments.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.