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Computer deal for teachers ends

By Alex Bridges

WOODSTOCK - A program that lets Shenandoah County teachers buy computers on credit must cease because the bank now requires collateral.

The county had a line of credit through First Bank since 2001. With the line of credit the county offered school system employees an opportunity to buy laptops or other computer equipment on credit at a low-interest rate. Employees who participated in the program would make payments on the loan through a deduction from their checks.

Acting County Administrator Mary Beth Price told the Board of Supervisors at a work session Thursday that the program "ceases as we know it."

Staff has recommended that the county set up a certificate of deposit with First Bank for the principal amount of $115,000 for two years to serve as collateral on the money currently owed on purchases made through the program. The loans are expected to be repaid by August 2015.

The school system would be instructed to not issue any new purchases. Price said school officials are aware of the pending termination of the program. The last group of employee purchases was made in the spring, she said.

"They had another one scheduled, which is pretty common after the beginning of a school year for new teachers and so forth," Price said. "But that will not occur."

Board Chairman Conrad Helsley pointed out that the bank would return the $115,000 put up as collateral to the county once employees have repaid the remaining loans.

The matter of obtaining the certificate of deposit and allowing the line of credit will come back before the board for action at its next meeting.

Supervisor Steve Baker expressed disappointment with the results.

"It's just unfortunate that it's played out like this here because I've got some emails and some contacts that people say it's really benefited them," Baker said. "I'm talking about teachers that are starting out. I'm sure it's very, very tight. This helps them to be able to get the equipment."

Vice Chairman Dennis Morris called the program a "jump-start" for teachers.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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