Schools and libraries in Mendocino County will receive nearly $1 million to improve Internet access for children and “close the homework gap,” the office of Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) announced Tuesday.
According to a March 15 press release, the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund Program “was created as part of the American Rescue Plan and helps schools and libraries ensure that students can connect to the internet at home, better allowing them to take advantage of online learning resources and accomplish their academic goals (and help close) the homework gap,” which refers to how “students who lack access to the internet at home often fall behind their peers.”
“The world has moved online, and kids without access to the internet and the opportunities that provides are often left to fall behind,” Rep. Huffman is quoted as saying in the release. “I’m glad to have supported this program and will keep working to close the homework gap. Every student deserves the resources they need to succeed – regardless of their zip code or circumstance.”
According to the FCC, the $7.17 billion program has provided California with over $660 million in total funding to date, helping “cover costs of laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity purchases for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons.”
The release also reports that Mendocino County schools and libraries will receive nearly $1 million:
- $99,599.74 for the Anderson Valley Unified School District;
- $665,356.90 for the Fort Bragg Unified School District
- $56,000.00 for the Laytonville Unified School District
- $13,555.20 for the Leggett Valley Unified School District
- $30,882.00 for the Mendocino County Library
- $37,523.11 for the Mendocino Unified School District
- $9,600.00 for the Willits Charter School
- $2,616.83 for the Willits Elementary Charter School
- $29,993.06 for the Willits Unified School District
Huffman spokeswoman Mary Hurrell said the allocations were based on what each school district or facility requested, but could not give details as to why the $665,356 allocation to the Fort Bragg Unified School District was so much higher that the other distributions.
Ari Rule-Gustafson, the Director of Technology for FBUSD, explained in an email that the district was “awarded two funding amounts of $332,678.45 each from the (Emergency Connectivity Fund). These awards were to supplement two separate purchases of 1,000 chromebooks for remote learning, and our 1:1 device program.The district paid the remaining balance on each order. All of our students now have access to a device and can take them home, as well.”