Lt. Governor Tina Smith and Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius announced Thursday new state grants that will help 12 school districts provide students with the high-speed Internet connections needed to complete homework and access other online learning opportunities. Without this funding, these students would lack access to reliable high-speed Internet, putting them at a competitive disadvantage with their urban peers. The grants awarded will be used to provide students wireless access at home and while riding the school bus.
The 12 school districts awarded grants are (broadband grant award amount in parentheses):
- Deer River School District ($39,267)
- Fertile-Beltrami School District ($41,922)
- Lake of the Woods School District ($49,840)
- Lake Superior School District ($50,000)
- McGregor School District ($46,500)
- Pine City School District ($44,831)
- Princeton School District ($44,916)
- Rothsay School District ($46,500)
- Shakopee School District ($34,574)
- St. Cloud Area School District ($40,546)
- Thief River Falls School District ($30,484)
- Tracy Area School District ($30,620)
“Too many Minnesota students are on the wrong side of the digital divide. These grants will help level the playing field for students in Greater Minnesota by providing them the same educational opportunities as their friends and family in the cities,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Governor Dayton and I will continue advocating for high speed, affordable, reliable Internet access until all Minnesota students and families are connected.”
The new grant funding will allow districts to equip buses with wireless hotspots, enabling students to complete homework while commuting. The funding also will be used to purchase wireless hotspots, data cards, and other mobile broadband devices that students will be able to check out for use at home.
“Technology is a part of Minnesota classrooms. If we want all students to be successful, we need to make sure we are providing them the tools they need,” said Commissioner Cassellius. “Where a student lives and their family income should not determine whether they are able to complete their schoolwork or not.”
Visit http://mn.gov/governor/newsroom/#/detail/appId/1/id/272742 for the complete news release.