Hundreds of Spokane County classrooms will be getting new computers and Internet connections.
School administrators were ecstatic Wednesday about being on the receiving end of $1.3 million in state money. Voters have been reluctant to approve high-tech bond issues.
Spokane School District 81 is getting $516,000 to outfit 270 classes with computers and Internet-ready wiring.
Nine Mile Falls, Mead, Cheney, Oaksdale, Central Valley and East Valley will split about $800,000 for technology improvements.
The money comes from a $10 million pot created by the 1996 Legislature to put computers and high-speed connections in schools. The money was divided by the superintendent of public instruction’s office.
“This is the biggest technology expenditure we’ve ever had,” said Walt Rulffes, Spokane School District associate superintendent.
School districts must match the state spending, either dollar for dollar or with in-kind donations.
The Spokane district, like most getting the state help, already budgeted technology money that counts toward the requirement. The district spent almost $600,000 last summer training teachers to use computers.
Most of those teachers will now get either a new Apple or IBM computer and a printer.
Other cash-strapped districts got creative in figuring out how to come up with the matching funds. Central Valley and East Valley pledged the use of buildings, buses and technology trainers to qualify for a combined $578,000.
The two districts plan to outfit a technology training center to train all teachers. Each Central Valley and East Valley school will get three computers and special Internet wiring.