Convention adds up to new computers for public schools

While many New Yorkers who disagree with the Republicans’ agenda objected to the presence of the Republican National Convention and others breathed a sigh of relief that the event was no longer tying up Midtown, for New York City public schools, at least, the Convention added up to a benefit.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, Nextel Communications Inc. President & C.E.O. Tim Donahue and IBM Vice President of Government Programs Christopher Caine announced last week that New York City public schools and city social services will benefit from the desktop and laptop computers, telephones and their supporting networks and cellular phones that were provided to New York City Host Committee 2004, the nonprofit entity established for the purpose of supporting the 2004 National Republican Convention. 

Added together, the computers, phones and accompanying technologies total more than $5 million — IBM computers and accessories total more than $1 million; Cisco phones and their technologies more than $4 million; and Nextel phones total $120,000.

“New York City’s public schools…will benefit immensely from the Republican National Convention,” said Bloomberg. “Because of the generosity of these good corporate citizens, city public school children and school administration officials can now count on instant and reliable technology…. These generous donations demonstrate that there is broad support for New York from industry leaders, and that with their invaluable assistance, New York City can strive to be a city that can successfully host big events and big ideas.”

“The overwhelming support of both the private sector and the general public is a resounding vote of confidence in the reforms taking place under Children First,” said Schools Chancellor Klein. “We are making a real, profound and beneficial impact on the way our children learn, and individuals, organizations and businesses, both in our city and outside the five boroughs, are seeking to get involved.”

Nextel Communications Inc., the official wireless service provider of the 2004 Republican National Convention, will donate the 1,200 wireless phones provided to the Convention for use by Department of Education staff to improve and maintain communication on school-related operations.   

IBM provided the N.Y.C. Host Committee 2004 with 540 desktop computers, 111 laptops, 44 printers, 27 servers and related accessories. The IBM equipment was used at 2 Penn Plaza for staff operations, in Madison Sq. Garden for running and producing the convention, in the James A. Farley Post Office Building to support the Convention’s media center and in the N.Y.C. Host Committee 2004 Volunteer Office for recruiting and training volunteers. The desktop computers, ThinkPad laptops, servers and printers will be used to improve access to technology in a range of New York City public schools as well as to increase access to social services. 

In addition, 20 Global Electric Motorcars Daimler Chrysler donated to the N.Y.C. Host Committee 2004 will be given to the city’s Department of Parks & Recreation. Energy-efficient vehicles with a top speed of 35 m.p.h., G.E.M.’s are in use today throughout the city parks system; in November 2003, 248 G.E.M. carts were donated to Parks by Daimler Chrysler for maintenance and to assist operations personnel with moving crews and equipment from site to site, to perform large park inspections and to allow staff to drive between small parks and playgrounds within their districts. G.E.M.’s are less noisy than full-sized vehicles, don’t emit atmospheric pollution, carbon monoxide or particulate matter and allow city officials to reduce reliance on large trucks.