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La Grande School District receives $527k technology grant; buys 1000 Chromebooks

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(La Grande) — Do you know how much room 1,000 Chromebooks take up? Casey Hampton, Instructional Technology Manager at La Grande School District, recently found out.

LGSD has been busy purchasing technology equipment after receiving a $527,000 grant from the Emergency Connectivity Fund. The ECF is part of E-Rate, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries in the United States.

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, funds were available through ECF for connectivity for distance learning due to the pandemic.

District staff applied for the grant in the fall of 2021 and found out in January they were awarded the funds. Hampton said during the height of CDL (Comprehensive Distance Learning) in 2020, the La Grande School District checked out 1200 Chromebooks to district students, so they realized the need is definitely there. About 1000 of those devices are old and “end of life” in technology terms at the end of 2022, so Hampton and her team realized they needed a way to start buying new devices. “With the potential return to distance learning at any time, this has been a big need for the district. It would take several years to purchase this amount of devices through our regular district budget,” she said.

The district’s goal is to have 1:1 technology, in other words a Chromebook for every LGSD student. “We are getting closer, and this is a huge boost for us.”

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