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Less expensive computers, with none of the trade-offs

A rural district in Missouri finds its technology solution from CDI

Kathy Bellew, technology director for a rural school district in Hillsboro, Missouri, was intrigued about refurbished computers but not ready to buy. So when equipment offers from a CDI sales representative kept popping up in her email inbox, did she get annoyed? Not exactly.

"I emailed him back and said, 'Don't drop me off your list just because I haven't ordered anything from you!" said Bellew, who works for Grandview R-II School District, home to about 850 students.

Bellew had been pricing laptops for high school science classes, and she quickly discovered that?with budget constraints?buying new wouldn't be an option. Laptops were too expensive; it wouldn't be possible to outfit an entire class.

"Some of the products I've compared to new, and I can get the same warranty as if I bought the new product. If I get the same warranty on the same product, why would I buy new?"
Kathy Bellew, Technology Director
Grandview R-II School District,
Hillsboro, Missouri

Netbooks were cheaper but not powerful enough for some science-based applications.

That's when Bellew began to pay attention to those CDI offers. "I would say, 'Why, that's really good pricing,'" she recalled.

She started by buying 30 laptops, which cost about half what new gear would cost but came with similar warranties.

"Some of the products I've compared to new and I can get the same warranty as if I bought the new product," Bellew said. "If I get the same warranty on the same product, why would I buy new?"

CDI puts its computers through a rigorous 12-point inspection and cleaning process, then repeats the process before any unit is deemed certified or shipped to customers. Most of the equipment is formerly leased or lightly used corporate equipment, such as high-end Dell computers.

"It was pretty much what I expected," Bellew said. "They don't look like they're new. They're gently used. But the performance ended up being what I expected."

Bellew said she was impressed with CDI's responsiveness during the period when she was getting used to the unfamiliar machines. Sometimes there might be a slight problem with a unit, while other times Bellew needed some pointers on how to configure the equipment. Either way, CDI staffers "took care of the problems," she said.

The district ended up buying another 30 laptops for the science department, plus 30 desktops for a decrepit media station in the high school library. The latter were a big relief because Bellew found herself having to tend to the old computers as often as once a week.

"I'm the only IT person," she said. "I'm it."

Since the library desktops were installed earlier this year, though, she hasn't had a single service call.

Bellew said she would use CDI again. She also praised the service she receives from her sales rep, Alexander Pagenhardt, who originally sent her the email promotional pitches.

"He just really takes good care of me," she said. "If he can't help me, he finds someone who can. It's been a good experience."

The students in the district apparently think so, too.

"The impact on student achievement has been huge," Bellew said. "One girl told me, 'I really didn't like science at all, but this just makes it interesting.'"

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