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GSA Adopts Options School Fourteen Computers Donated

GSA # 9393

March 18, 1997
Contact: Johanna Roark
202-501-0977 or
Hap Connors
202-501-1231

At a ceremony today, David J. Barram, Acting Administrator, General Services Administration, donated 14 computers to the District's Options Public Charter School at the Capital Children's Museum. During the ceremony, Barram announced that, in response to the President's call to agency heads to be a good neighbor in the District, GSA's Central Office has adopted the Options School.

Barram said, "Options is the only Charter School in the nation targeting at risk 5th to 8th graders. Options is helping the children of the District, that are most likely to drop-out, stay in school and graduate. Options is making a difference, and GSA would like to help."

President Clinton supports Public Charter Schools such as Options. His budget calls for an increase in the federal subsidy for "Charter Schools" from $51 million to $100 million.

Options School answers a number of the ten principles the President called for in American education to prepare us for the 21st Century such as helping children learn to read, involving parents in their child's learning, and teaching character education. And, there have been positive results. Recently, students were nominated for the 1997 Rosebud Award for their claymation video Spare Change.

Cathy Martens, President and Executive Director of the Capital Children's Museum said, "The donation of these computers will make a big difference for the children at Options School. Access to this equipment will help prepare them for the 21st Century. They will now be able to learn the high-tech skills required by the job market."

That is what the President had in mind when he signed Executive Order 12999, almost a year ago. The Order simplified the donation of computers to schools. "The donation program shows the Administration's commitment to education. The President has called for connecting every classroom and library to the Internet. And GSA is committed to helping accomplish his goal." Barram said.

Positive results of the Order include:

Students across the country now have access to technology. So far, over the past year, GSA has donated over a thousand computers nationwide. Of those, more than 200 computers have been donated to District schools.

At a recent Forum co-sponsored by GSA, the Office of the Vice President, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, more than 20 agencies were represented as well as state agencies for surplus property. As a result of the Forum, GSA will refine and extend the guidance for agencies to transfer computer equipment to schools and develop an automated clearinghouse for computer equipment for use by both schools and agencies.

Other agencies are donating computers, too. Today, right here in the District, the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation donated 45 computers to Thomson Elementary School.

Emphasis on support of District schools comes in response to the call the President made during his State of the Union address that we have to renew our Capital City and make it the finest place to learn, to work and to live. And, during his announcement last week, of the economic portion of the District Plan, President Clinton encouraged adoption of D.C. schools. He also announced that each agency head would develop a targeted plan of action to help the District.

Donation of computers and adoption of schools has been, and will continue to be, a part of GSA's overall plan to help the District. We are also looking at other ways GSA can positively contribute to the District.