Spare change could help some Tampa-area schools get new computers. At least, that’s the thinking behind a program sponsored by the Greater Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber is distributing plastic canisters to businesses throughout Temple Terrace, hoping the town’s residents will donate their spare change for new school computers. The canisters will be placed on counter tops, next to cash registers or wherever they’re easily accessible.

Project coordinator Phil Lentsch, president of Office Dynamics, said he thought of the program after seeing the computers at the district’s Greco Middle School. “All you have to do is look at their computers and you just want to cry. They’re about 15 years out of date,” he told the Tampa Tribune. “It’s really scary to see how bad it is.”

Lentsch said 370 businesses are members of the chamber. If each one raises just $10 a month, he said, that’s $ 3,700 a month for the program.

The Hillsborough Education Foundation has agreed to match the chamber’s funds, offering $667 for each $1,000 the chamber raises. That would bring the total to more than $5,500 a month, presuming each business raised $10 a month. “It’s all going for computers,” Lentsch said of the money raised.

Ideally, the chamber would like to purchase six computers a month, Lentsch said. He has sent letters to major computer manufacturers such as Compaq, Dell, and Apple seeking a package deal on pricing, he said.

The computers will go to the cluster of schools serving Temple Terrace, including King High School, Greco Middle School, Temple Terrace Elementary School, Riverhills Elementary School, and others.