Clark, Champaign schools provide internet access to students through more than $800K in state funding

Math teacher Garry Barhorst working through precalculus problems with his virtual students at GISA a few months ago. The school used money from an Ohio grant to expand broadband access to purchase hotspots for students in remote learning. CONTRIBUTED

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Math teacher Garry Barhorst working through precalculus problems with his virtual students at GISA a few months ago. The school used money from an Ohio grant to expand broadband access to purchase hotspots for students in remote learning. CONTRIBUTED

School districts in Clark and Champaign Counties spent over $800,000 in state funding to improve internet access for students who transitioned to remote and hybrid learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding is part of Ohio’s K-12 Broadband Connectivity Grant program to help expand and provide affordable internet access to students.

The state awarded over $807,137.14 in funding to 14 school districts in Clark and Champaign Counties.

The Springfield City School District received the largest amount of funding at $151,466.16.

The district purchased 4,500 Verizon hotspots at a cost of $750,000 to supply one per family. The grant helped offset that cost.

“The district identified the need for hotspots to support our families choosing virtual instruction during the pandemic,” said Cherie Moore, the district’s spokesperson. “The hotspots provided internet access to students with a need.”

ExploreRELATED: Several Clark County schools receive over $420K for Internet access

Clark-Shawnee Local School District used some of their funding to help children with special needs. The district purchased internet-enabled devices for students with special needs requiring specific technologies to support their remote learning

“The impact of the grant has been positive in our community… the most positive aspect of this grant program has been the removal of a barrier to online learning for families who chose for their children to learn remotely during the current pandemic,” said Superintendent Brian Kuhn.

Graham Local Schools received the highest amount in Champaign County at $151,466.16 and used the funding not only for hotspots and routers, but also to install internet access on 16 school buses, Wi-Fi in the parking lots and access points for people in the community.

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“Graham has many different challenges in regards to internet connections from lack of infrastructure in the smaller towns, to inconstant cellular in our remote rural areas. This grant will allow us to bridge the gap by not only offering no cost high speed internet for students to use in their homes, but also equipping our school buses and other public areas with high speed internet increasing accessibility for our students,” said Superintendent Brad Silvus.

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 extended the grant opportunity through Dec. 31, 2021, according to ODE’s website.


Local school districts receiving Ohio broadband grants

Clark County

Catholic Central: $7,558 to purchase hotspots and a mobile internet service subscription

Clark-Shawnee: $21,811.13 to purchase 50 hotspots and about a dozen cellular-enabled devices

Cliff Park High School: $42,410.53 to purchase 63 internet devices and internet service

Emmanuel Christian Academy: $2,000, withdrew from the program after determining no families qualified

Global Impact STEM Academy: $22,416.99 to purchase 90 hotspots

Nightingale Montessori Inc: $4,500 (Use unknown)

Northeastern: $151,466.160 used to purchased 100 hotspots

Southeastern: $19,140 to purchase hotspots

Springfield: $151,466.16 used to purchase 4,500 hotspots

Champaign County

Graham: $151,466.16 to purchase 300 in-home cellular based routers, internet access of 16 buses, Wi-Fi in the parking lots, access points to create hotspots in the communities and internet connection

Madison-Champaign ESC: $151,466.16

Mechanicsburg: $15,996 to provide remote wireless connection devices

Triad: $45,439.85 to purchase 68 Chromebooks

West Liberty-Salem: $20,000 to purchase hotspots and Wi-Fi access points on campus

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