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School districts across the state need help providing home internet access to students


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - "The computers seem to be okay, people are finding the computers, but they're struggling with the internet, the ability to access to the internet," said chairman of the senate education committee Senator Dean Mortimer.

Mortimer says internet access is a big issue for school districts across the state. He says he is concerned for students who don't already the internet at home.

"If you're talking from a state standpoint, which I work with the state budget for the education budget, is that there's not, necessarily has not been or is not currently available money to provide students with internet access in their homes," he said.

Now a group called Idaho Business for Education has teamed up with the school districts across the state to help find money for mobile hotspots so students can learn remotely.

"We're talking with literally thousands of devices, you know, not just one or two. And you do the math, that's a that's a lot of money that these school districts would have to fund," said IBE chairman, CFO & partner of Bateman-Hall Construction Aaron Johnson.

Johnson says each hotspot ranges from $75 to up to $250. He goes on to say many internet carriers are helping, but the high demand and regulations are tricky things to tackle.

Time is also a critical factor for students.

"If they don't have connectivity then they really are not going to be keeping up to the rest of students and losing two months is an immense amount of time when it comes to that early childhood development," Johnson said.

Johnson tells us with the community's help all student's will not only be able to finish out the school year, but also school districts will be more prepared for a similar situation in the future.

"Having these hotspots or these wireless devices that the students can take home, The school districts would still own the hotspots. They would be able to take them back off of loan, when they're done, and they can certainly be used for the next time we have an emergency like this or for another purpose," Johnson said.

IBE is asking for the communities help to fund the hotspots for students all across the state. You can make your donation to a specific school district if you'd like.

For more information on how to donate, click here.

Article Topic Follows: Education
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Jilliana Colina

Jilliana is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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