SAN LUIS, Ariz. – When you pay for telephone or internet service, one of the charges on your bill is for E-Rate, a federal program that provides funding to schools and public libraries for communication technology.
Gadsden Elementary School District recently applied for and received a grant for $571,171 from the program administered by the Federal Communication Commission – an amount exceeding its average annual E-Rate allocation for the previous 17 years.
Luis Ramirez, information technology director for the Gadsden district, said the money will go for improving internet service to the district’s campuses in San Luis.
“We are lucky that they have approved our application and that we have received more funds that in previous years,” he said. “They are funds (that will be used) both for internet service and for the equipment necessary for providing it.
The funding will allow the district to increase the speed of internet service from 10 to 40 gigabytes and to acquire a new router priced at nearly $69,000.
The improvements will enable the students to make better use of computers, tablets and other devices for instruction, as well as to take state-mandated academic achievement tests that are administered on line, Ramirez said.
“We are going to have a more robust network, which will permit growth to meet the future demand of students and employees, and we are going to be ready to achieve the goal of having a device for every student.”
The funding will also allow the district to upgrade security cameras and wireless internet.
The district must apply annually for funding through E-Rate.
Over the past 18 years, the district has received a total of more than $12.8 million through the program, Ramirez said.