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Local donors help schools get $32.6 million award for new technology

Duval County Public Schools announced a plan to significantly increase technology access and infrastructure at 41 low-income elementary and middle schools Tuesday using funds awarded through a no-interest state bond program.

Eleven local philanthropists and companies provided $3.2 million in cash and in-kind donations, allowing the district to qualify for the award. Community cash donations will be collected and administered by the Jacksonville Public Education Fund in support of the program.

The funds will be used to retrofit old school buildings for wireless Internet access, equip classrooms with multimedia carts and projectors, and deploy laptops and iPads to every student in the selected schools. Nearly 25,000 students are expected to benefit from the program.

"This new administration has committed to improving access to technology for all our students, and the receiving of this grant speaks to delivering on that commitment," Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said. "Students have become digital learners, and this technology will enhance their opportunities for success in a technology-driven world."

Access to technology resources was a major theme that emerged from ONE by ONE community conversations with nearly 1,700 people.

"This investment puts Jacksonville at the forefront of the state in technology use, and will enable our students to compete in the 21st Century workforce, which demands graduates be able to effectively use technology," said JPEF President Trey Csar.

Construction and infrastructure work will begin in January 2013, and devices will begin to appear in schools in the fall.

To see a list of schools that will be participating in the project, click here.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/117287559/Project-Schools-for-Qualified-Zone-Academy-Bonds