"We had trouble getting into our programs," said Justin Muller, a sixth-grade representative in the school's student organization, which showed Avella the lab of more than 30 computers that had problems connecting to a server.
"We had to fend for ourselves," said Principal Mae Fong, explaining that the Citrix system on which the school's newest computers run was beyond the ability of the Department of Education's Region 3 technicians to service.
Under the restructuring of city schools, the old District 26 technicians who had been familiar with the Citrix system are now working in Region 4, said Fong.
Budget cuts also made the $3,800 service contract with Computer Logic impossible for the school to finance on its own, Fong said.
"It's the cutting edge of technology," said Assistant Principal Clifford Swezey. "In order to service it, it is expensive."
The students wrote letters to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and even Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates asking for help. But assistance arrived closer to home in the form of a $1,900 grant Avella secured from The Plumbing Foundation City of New York, a non-profit trade organization of plumbers, contractors and manufacturers.
"(Avella) said, 'The school has a problem. Can you spare a few bucks?'" recalled Stewart O'Brien, executive director of the group. "We said, 'Sure.'"
"We're always here to make sure you get the best possible education," Avella told students at the school last Thursday, when he presented the $1,900 check with O'Brien and foundation chairman Richard Farrell. Representatives from Computer Logic and the school's PTA co-presidents were also on hand for the event.
"We're going to improve the situation here," Avella said. "You have my commitment. Otherwise, you're going to hound me," he joked.
MS 67 planned to raise another $1,900 for the rest of the contract, the school's principal said.
Seventh-grade representative Ambrose Eng said the functioning lab "will improve our skills and connect us to a world of limitless opportunities."
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.