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Downers Grove Elementary Grade District 58


Located in west suburban Chicago, Downers Grove Grade School District 58 is comprised of 13 schools totaling approximately 5,200 students in grades Pre-K through 8. In 2014 the district adopted a 1:1 technology approach to education, providing students with iPad Minis for use in the classroom and at home.


James Eichmiller, the Assistant Superintendent Technology and Learning for the district, understands that Apple devices at the end of their service still maintain significant residual value. When it was time to refresh devices, he found a buyback company to purchase them, but ended up disappointed.

“We tend to keep our devices for a long time, so we anticipated a low buyback offer, ” said Eichmiller. “The process also was slow and there were audit discrepancies.” When it was time to go through the process again, Eichmiller talked with a number of buyback companies for an inventory of approximately 4,300 iPad Mini 1st Generation devices. This time, Eichmiller had three criteria for the buyback company that would get his business: the best price, a flexible process, and trust that the company will honor its commitment and is grading the devices fairly.


The Downers Grove district selected Second Life Mac because they provided a minimum guarantee that beat all other companies, they were able to meet the district’s buyback timeline, and they delivered transparency into the grading of each device.

The process for Eichmiller was painless. The company’s white glove service meant that Second Life Mac packers arrived at the school, inventoried and packed devices, then transported them back to the Second Life Mac facility for grading and processing.

“I didn’t even need to be on site for this,” said Eichmiller. “We had all the devices in one room and a staff member let the packers in. They worked quietly and then were gone.”


Within a few weeks, the Downers Grove district received a check from Second Life Mac, which went into the district’s revenue account.

“I had already budgeted for the sale of the devices and the purchase of new devices,” said Eichmiller. “We were thrilled that Second Life Mac came in above what we anticipated.” Eichmiller recommends doing homework before working with a buyback company to ensure they are a good fit with the district, will honor their estimate, and will provide transparency into how they are grading the devices.

“Schools are at the mercy of buyback companies because we turn over our assets with the intention of being paid,” said Eichmiller. “It’s crucial that they have an open and transparent grading process. Second Life Mac provided that and gave us the highest payout.”

Eichmiller also suggests doing research beyond talking with references, including networking with other tech directors. “Every company will give you a good reference, but tech directors will be able to share what happens when things don’t go as planned,” said Eichmiller.

For example, when Eichmiller notified one buyback company that they didn’t get his business, they contacted the school board with false information about the buyback company that was selected.

“This is the kind of information that won’t come out when speaking with company provided references,” said Eichmiller.