La Paz County schools and libraries will receive a grant of almost $4 million to upgrade their Internet services. That’s what County School Superintendent Jacque Price learned Jan. 29.
Of this amount, the Arizona Corporation Commission will be providing almost $200,000. The remainder of the funding will come from Federal Communications Commission through their E-Rate program.
The E-Rate program allows states to establish matching funds of up to 10 percent on projects to upgrade Internet services for schools and libraries. The combination of E-Rate and state matching funds can cover up to 100 percent of an applicant’s out-of-pocket costs for the infrastructure necessary for high-speed Internet service.
Price said she applied for the funding through the Yavapai County Education Technology Consortium, an organization that has brought high-speed Internet to Yavapai County schools.
The project is a reflection of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s state intent to have broadband Internet service in the state’s schools as a way of taking advantage of technology and helping students prepare for the future. The Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative is a partnership of the Governor’s Office, the Arizona Department of Education, the Arizona Corporation Commission, and the non-profit organization Education Super Highway.
One of the goals of the initiative is for local schools to take advantage of the E-Rate program.
Price said Frontier won the contract to install broadband and high-speed Internet in La Paz County’s schools and libraries. She said there will be meetings in a few weeks to lay out the project.
Price said her predecessor, Janice Shelton, got the grant process started, and that she paved the way for Price to get the funding.
“I was able to carry this through,” she said.
In addition to funding to install high-speed Internet, Price said there would be ongoing funding for service and maintenance. The estimated cost is $140,868 per year, with E-Rate providing $126,781.20.
Schools and libraries that will receive funding include:
Bouse Elementary School
Parker Unified School District (Blake Primary, Wallace Elementary, Wallace Junior High, Le Pera Elementary, Parker High School and Parker Alternative School).
Quartzsite Elementary School District (Ehrenberg Elementary, Quartzsite Elementary)
Wenden Elementary School
Parker Apostolic Church School
La Paz County Libraries (Bouse Library and Centennial Library)
Parker Public Library
Quartzsite Public Library