California targets school divide
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jan 28, 2001
More than 1,800 California public high schools will share $167 million in
education technology grants as part of Gov. Gray Davis' plan to provide
students with state-of-the-art computers.
The one-time money, available because of a surplus in last fiscal year's
budget, aims to help bridge the digital divide in schools.
Under the plan, $163 million will buy more than 108,000 multimedia Internet-capable
computers for 1,650 schools. The idea is to reduce the students-to-computers
ratio to 5-to-1 statewide. Currently, the ratio is 7-to-1, but some schools
have ratios as high as 24-to-1.
Each school district would decide how best to spend the money — that
is, which computers to purchase or lease and whether to include installation
and maintenance costs or chip in additional funds. But schools must follow
minimum technical specifications for computers, set by the state education
The remaining $4 million is earmarked to help 155 schools purchase and
install Internet wiring and computer hardware so students can access online
Advanced Placement courses. This would help small-enrollment rural schools
that previously have been unable to budget for AP courses in their curricula.
Installation is expected to be completed by fall 2001.
An additional $8 million in education technology grants will be awarded
within several weeks. Eligible high schools that did not apply for grants
in the first round will be encouraged to apply for this round.