Solano reps in Congress secure $4M for access to internet for students

FAIRFIELD — Reps. John Garamendi and Mike Thompson announced this week Solano County schools will receive more than $3.94 million from the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.

The program, which was created as part of the American Rescue Plan, helps schools and libraries ensure students can connect to the internet at home, allowing them to take advantage of online learning and do their homework.

Known as the “homework gap,” students who lack access to the internet at home can often fall behind their peers as curriculums and educational opportunities rely more and more on the ability to conduct online research and connect to the web, according to a press release.

Rep. John Garamendi

Rep. Mike Thompson

“Ensuring low-income students are able to access the classroom, their teachers and educational resources is a crucial part of ensuring their academic success,” Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, said in the release. “By providing Solano County school districts with the resources they require to close the homework gap, we will decrease economic and racial disparities in educational outcomes, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to learn and excel. The Covid-19 pandemic did not create the disparities in educational outcomes – but it did exacerbate them. The American Rescue Plan is working to alleviate these inequalities across the board and helping build a more equitable and successful tomorrow.”

The program will help 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.

“Closing the homework gap and ensuring that all children have access to the internet is vital to our students’ ability to access the resources they need to be successful in the classroom,” Thompson, D-St. Helena, said in the release. “Covid-19 only made this gap worse, but this funding will help students stay connected and get their work done. Investing in our students’ education means investing in our future . . . .”

The schools in Solano County that will receive funding include:

• Vallejo City School District: $2,013,524
• Benicia School District: $657,375
• River Delta School District: $353,848
• Griffin Technology Academies in Vallejo: $317,825
• Elite Public Schools in Vallejo: $201,000
• Kairos Public Schools in Vacaville: $189,396
• Fairfield-Suisun School District: $171,600
• St. Catherine of Siena School in Vallejo: $30,740
• Travis School District: $9,122

Garamendi and Thompson are Solano County’s representatives in Congress. Garamendi represents the state’s 3rd Congressional District; Thompson the 5th Congressional District.

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