State Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) announced Ohio schools may begin applying for the new BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant beginning today, Monday, August 10. A total of $50 million will be allocated to expand high-speed internet access for Ohio students utilizing remote learning during the COVID crisis by providing hotspots and internet-enabled devices to students.
Although a matching funds grant program was initially proposed as a method of distribution to school districts, the advocacy efforts of the Ohio Legislative Children’s Caucus Chairs, Representative Allison Russo and Senator Peggy Lehner (R- Dayton), along with other advocacy groups resulted in the removal of that requirement.
“I am pleased that Governor DeWine heeded our recommendation to remove the funds matching portion of the BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant,” said Rep. Russo. “A funds matching distribution of the grant money would have further widened the opportunity gap for Ohio students, especially for those districts in underserved areas that are already struggling financially. The State of Ohio must do all in its power to address the challenges presented to students as we implement hybrid and distance programs, and this grant is an important first step towards mitigating inequities in education for Ohio’s children.”
Purchases made since July 1 of this year are eligible for support from the Connectivity Grant program. The application period closes Friday, August 21. Schools may apply for this grant opportunity at https://ohio-k12.help/broadbandohio-connectivity-grant/.