Hanbidge, Malagari announce $164K grant for North Penn School District

HARRISBURG, Oct. 1 – State Reps. Liz Hanbidge and Steve Malagari announced North Penn School District has been approved for a grant of $164,946 in the first wave of funding from the Emergency Connectivity Fund.

“Our schools, specifically teachers, staff and students, did a remarkable job adapting to unprecedented circumstances and conditions since March of 2020,” Malagari said. “It’s rewarding to see North Penn School District approved for a grant since it found a way to make off-site learning work during very trying times – and for that it should be applauded.” 

The Emergency Connectivity Fund Program will reimburse schools and libraries for the reasonable costs of eligible equipment and broadband connections used to help students, staff and patrons who otherwise lack access to be able to engage in remote learning. Of the total grant awarded to North Penn, $121,390 has been earmarked for equipment obligations. The remainder of the grant – more than $43,000 – will be spent on services needed.

“No one wanted to go through what we experienced last year,” Hanbidge said. “Yet, the behind-the-scenes work of North Penn School District staff and students allowed learning to continue throughout the most difficult days of the pandemic. I’m glad to see the district receive funding to help offset the financial costs of keeping our children learning in a safe environment.”

Hanbidge and Malagari also reminded schools that the second application window is now open, and applications are being accepted until Oct. 13, 2021. During the application filing window, eligible schools, libraries and consortia of eligible schools and libraries can submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022. Those that applied for the first round and have additional unmet needs are eligible to reapply.

Eligible applicants should apply at www.emergencyconnectivityfund.org.

Created through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund is considered the nation’s largest single effort to ensure students have access to the digital devices and resources they need for the school year. The program will also help libraries offer their patrons internet connectivity and digital devices to continue their learning at home.

ECF is a $7.17 billion program that will help schools and libraries provide the tools and services during the COVID-19 emergency period. ECF provides relief to millions of students, school staff and library patrons and will help close the homework gap for students who currently lack necessary internet access or the devices they need to connect to classrooms.

A total of $20.57 million in funding was awarded in the initial funding wave to 126 applicants, including 86 school districts, 28 schools, 10 libraries and two consortiums.