BISD Secures Funding for Student Devices

BISD and City Partnerships Secure Funding for Student Devices
Posted on 10/02/2020
This is the image for the news article titled BISD and City Partnerships Secure Funding for Student DevicesBrazosport ISD was approved to receive almost $500,000 from Operation Connectivity, under the Federal CARES Act, to purchase 700 hotspots and 3,500 chromebooks. The total cost for the devices is nearly $1 million and is not included in the 2021 general fund budget, says Kelly Lackey, Brazosport ISD Director of Finance. Brazosport ISD will be eligible for an additional $140,000 from the State’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) matching program thanks to the cities of Freeport, Clute, Lake Jackson and Richwood, whom have all committed to use a portion of their CRF funding for local governments to support Brazosport ISD’s purchase of hotspots and chromebooks. The City of Freeport and Clute both have committed $50,000 each, while the City of Lake Jackson and Richwood have committed $25,000 and $15,000, respectively. These commitments required each City Council to adopt a resolution authorizing the Mayor to formally commit a specific amount to Brazosport ISD. Each City Manager was responsive to the District’s request for support and immediately prepared the necessary resolution for Council’s consideration. “We appreciate the time and effort invested by each city to maximize their contribution from CRF. With their contribution and the additional matching program, the total cost to BISD will be $220,000,” said Lackey. 

Brazosport ISD is anticipating the delivery of these devices any day now, says Monty Burger BISD Chief Operations and Technology Officer. We have already deployed nearly 700 hotspots (with data/bandwidth limits) to students who have chosen virtual learning and have limited to no internet access. “Brazosport ISD is very proud to have been able to provide a checkout Chromebook to every single student in the district, but the key is making sure they have appropriate connectivity to engage fully in remote learning while at home,” said Burger. These new devices will have unlimited data and at-home, virtual students will be allowed to exchange their existing hotspot for a new unlimited device.  

The State of Texas received $11 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds, which was established under the Federal Cares Act. A portion of these funds have been allocated to reimburse local governments for specific costs associated with their efforts in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 17, 2020 the Governor announced that the State would allocate $200 million in CRF for the purchase of eLearning devices and home internet solutions to enable remote learning during the pandemic. Now known as Operation Connectivity, this $200 million will match $200 million in local district funding throughout the state.  

Rebecca Kelley, BISD Chief Financial Officer states, “Brazosport ISD believes collaborative partnerships are vital to strengthening the learning experience and this is a great example of local governments partnering together to support the students and families in our communities.”
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