The Socorro Independent School District will receive more than $2.9 million in E-Rate funding for the 2017-18 school year, which is used to support the district’s technology infrastructure.
The E-Rate funds will be used to upgrade network switches, wireless access points, and power supply units to support full 10G network connectivity districtwide. The upgrade will improve overall use of technology for students, staff and schools across the district.
In the last 10 years, Team SISD has qualified for $25.8 million in E-rate funds, which has allowed the district to provide reliable, high-speed connectivity for increased digital teaching and learning.
“Our commitment is to ensure all students and staff have the best access to high-speed internet and technology resources,” said SISD Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza. “This E-Rate funding gives Team SISD the opportunity to upgrade our technology infrastructure and further our Operation Future Ready efforts. We strive to ensure every SISD student is at the forefront of digital learning.”
The federal program is designed to bridge the digital divide between more affluent suburban students and urban students who are at or below the poverty line.
Based on the more than 71 percent of SISD students who qualify for free and reduced price meals, the E-rate funding for the district was approved to cover 80 percent of the cost of the projects, with the district picking up the remaining amounts.
The funding can be used for telecommunications services, internet access, internal connections and basic equipment maintenance.
In 2014, the Federal Communications Commission voted to increase the E-rate fund by $1.5 billion annually. The decision allowed the United States to expand high-speed Wi-Fi access to 43.5 million students, add more than 101,000 additional schools and about 16,000 additional libraries and to expand their high-speed broadband and WiFi access.
That extra funding has been guaranteed for the next three years.