Although Clinton City Schools are operating in the 21st Century, the school system is expected to get more than a half million dollars in funds to be used towards updating technology within the school’s system.
According to Clyde Locklear, director of finances for the school, federal and state funds totaling $528,218 to be used for technology improvements, will be given to the system. The funds will be used to provide high-capacity broadband internet access to every school and provide quality WiFi access to every classroom in the district. Total equipment and data wiring upgrades are anticipated to cost $541,873.
“We are working to meet the districts 21st Century Leaning goals and develop 21st Century learners,” Locklear stated during the board monthly work session held last week.
The funds, Locklear stated, will be used to provide data wiring and to purchase data switches and wireless access points.
“All schools will benefit from these improvements,” Locklear said.
The finance director said that Clinton City Schools applied for funding through the Universal Service E-rate program. E-rate will fund approximately $341,973. On the state level, Race to the Top funds will provide $186,245. The remaining $13,654, Locklear said, will come from fund balance of Clinton City Schools.
“The district sought after these funds to help provide these improvements to our schools,” Locklear said during the meeting.
In order to get the project started, Locklear said the system would use some funds from the fund balance, but once the funds were issued to the school system, they would be placed back into the fund balance to replenish what is spent.
The purpose, Locklear said, of the technological overhaul — is to meeting the district’s 21st Century Learning goals. Clinton City Schools is working to educate students who are prepared for the 21st Century when the graduate from high school.
The project will begin immediately, and Locklear said, hopefully be complete by the end of the school year. The technology department will stage in the work, as the system may require being shut down for some of the work and Locklear said it wasn’t the plan to totally take away access to the internet from any school at any time.
The Schools and Libraries program, also known as the E-rate program, makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries in America. Mandated by Congress in 1996 and implemented by the Federal Communications Commission in 1997, the E-rate provides discounted telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries, funded by the Universal Service Fund (USF).
Race to the Top funds are part of a $4.35 billion United States Department of Education competitive grant created to spur and reward innovation and reforms in state and local district K-12 education.
States are awarded points for satisfying certain educational policies, such as performance-based evaluations for teachers and principals based on multiple measures of educator effectiveness (and are tied to targeted professional development and feedback), adopting common standards (though adoption of the Common Core State Standards was not required), adoption of policies that do not prohibit (or effectively prohibit) the expansion of high-quality charter schools, turning around the lowest-performing schools, and building and using data systems.
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