Reynolds and Department of Education assisting Iowa schools with funding for internet connectivity

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 10:05 AM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - Gov. Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education are making $26.2 million available to school districts, nonpublic schools, colleges and universities to increase internet connectivity for students for the upcoming school year.

The money comes from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

A news release from the Governor’s office said $19.3 million will go to all of Iowa’s 327 school districts and nonpublic schools with the remaining $6.9 million in funding going to public and private two and four year colleges and universities.

The funding will be used for things like leasing hotspots, providing a discount on broadband internet service or loaning devices to qualifying households.

The governor’s office said the amount each district will receive is based on the estimated number of households that lack internet access or struggle to afford it. Those estimates are based on a survey conducted in June and information gathered from the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau.

“This funding will play a critical role in our children’s education, helping to close significant gaps in broadband access for rural schools,” Gov. Reynolds said.

This comes as many schools are preparing to start the school year, some with plans to offer online or hybrid format classes.

“This is an important step toward ensuring our students and teachers have reliable access to the internet,” said Ann Lebo, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “In an increasingly technology-driven world, it is essential that we overcome the digital divide.”

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