Logan Co. school to provide internet access to 600 households in 3 towns through state funding

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted was joined by Paolo DeMaria, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction; Scott Mann, Superintendent of Riverside Schools; and other state and local partners to highlight the district’s use of state funding to provide hotspots and internet-enabled devices to students. CONTRIBUTED

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Lt. Gov. Jon Husted was joined by Paolo DeMaria, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction; Scott Mann, Superintendent of Riverside Schools; and other state and local partners to highlight the district’s use of state funding to provide hotspots and internet-enabled devices to students. CONTRIBUTED

Several schools is Logan County have received grants that will help expand their access to the internet.

The funding is through Ohio’s K-12 Broadband Connectivity Grant, which will help provide affordable high-speed internet access to students.

The grant is a collaboration between the Ohio Department of Education and BroadbandOhio. The state set aside $50 million of state funding through the federal CARES Act to provide hotspots and internet-enable devices to students for purchases made through the end of last year, but federal legislation has extended the grant opportunity through Dec. 31, 2021, according to ODE’s website.

Riverside Local School District in Logan County is helping to expand broadband for students and families in surrounding communities through a pilot project implemented by InnovateOhio and BroadbandOhio, according to Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

The district received $121,172.93 in funding, and used their share to provide hotspots on school buses that drive around the community to offer a place for students to do homework and to provide internet access to households in surrounding towns by using fixed wireless technology on the school property.

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“The broadband connectivity grant has afforded the capability to fill gaps in internet service for rural areas,” said Riverside Superintendent Scott Mann. “Riverside Local Schools is very excited about this opportunity and the benefits to the community that it provides.”

Through the pilot project, Riverside collaborated with OARnet and PCs for People to provide access to 600 households in Logansville, De Graff and Quincy.

“The great news about this project is it’s not only serving the school and the students, but it’s serving the local community as well,” Husted said. “They are going to have access to high-speed internet in all of these small rural towns, places that never had access before, because we’ve created new partnerships with the private sector, the not-for-profit sector and the government sector.”

Husted, Director of InnovateOhio, and Ohio Superintendent Paolo DeMaria announced this innovative project on Wednesday at the district.

This project uses the school’s infrastructure through OARnet to broadcast a wireless signal to surrounding towns through an antenna on the lights of the school’s football field, and the households within range will then be able to connect to the internet inside of their homes through PCs for People, Husted said.

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Families that sign up will pay a low upfront fee for a router and then a low monthly fee of $15 as the district is subsidizing the cost of some units to help low-income households.

“A fundamental step toward strengthening remote education is removing barriers to internet connectivity. The Riverside Local School District is a great example of the innovative ways Ohio schools are meeting students’ needs,” DeMaria said.

The other districts in Logan County that were awarded include: $23,751.91 to Indian Lake Local Schools; $10,125 to Ohio Hi-Point Career Center; $4,500 to Benjamin Logan Local Schools; $151,466.16 to Bellefontaine City Schools; and $151,456.47 to Midwest Regional ESC.

Multiple school districts in Clark and Champaign counties also received similar grants that will help expand their access to the internet.

The districts in Clark County that were awarded include: Catholic Central - $7,558; Clark-Shawnee - $21,811.13; Cliff Park High School - $42,410.53; Emmanuel Christian Academy - $2,000; Global Impact STEM Academy - $22,416.99; Nightingale Montessori Inc - $4,500; Northeastern - $151,466.160; Southeastern - $19,140.00; and Springfield - $151,466.16.

The districts in Champaign County that were awarded include: Graham - $151,466.16; Madison-Champaign ESC - $151,466.16; Mechanicsburg - $15,996; Triad - $45,439.85; and West Liberty-Salem - $20,000.

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