Schools in Homewood and Flossmoor have received nearly $500,000 in Digital Equity Formula Grants from the Illinois State Board of Education for improved internet connectivity.
The money came through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
- Homewood District 153 received $139,574 — $113,808 for devices and $25,767 for connectivity.
- Flossmoor District 161 received $160,513 — $131,095 for devices and $29,419 for connectivity.
- Homewood-Flossmoor High School received $190,530 — $155,875 for devices and $34,655 for connectivity.
Funding was awarded to school districts the state deemed to have the highest need. Funds can cover purchases dating back to March 13.
“We are so excited that we received just over $139,000 from the Digital Equity Grant,” said Beth White, technology director for Homewood District 153. “The money we received will pay for additional iPads for our Willow students, which will get us very close to our goal of having a device for every student at Willow. We were also able to purchase a few Wi-Fi hotspots for families in need of internet access at home.”
“Closing the digital divide has been a priority for the agency since March, when the pandemic forced schools statewide to suddenly shift to remote learning,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “We saw in the spring that many schools did not have the technology or internet access necessary to connect students and teachers in real-time and to facilitate meaningful remote instruction. We have learned and prepared a lot since the spring, and we are excited to provide our highest-need schools the Digital Equity Formula Grant to strengthen their digital infrastructure this fall and for years to come.”
“Throughout this crisis, I have been so impressed to see all the creative ways superintendents and teachers adapted to the pandemic, a spirit of ingenuity that stretched up into our higher education institutions, too,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. “This pandemic has heightened every inequality and injustice in our nation and our educators are on the frontlines of seeing our young people through this moment.”