Sainato: Nearly $385,000 awarded to help local students stay connected

Will fund tech, internet devices for New Castle Area, Laurel school districts

NEW CASTLE, Oct. 1 – Grant funding of $383,660 will help ensure students in two Lawrence County school districts don’t fall behind because they lack the tech tools to stay connected.

Sainato, D-Lawrence, said New Castle Area School District was awarded $273,880 – including $219,880 for technology equipment and $54,000 for internet services – and the Laurel School District was awarded $109,780 – including $104,200 for tech equipment and $5,580 for internet services.

“Kids can’t compete in a modern academic setting without reliable access to technology and the internet,” Sainato said. “Unfortunately, providing those resources can be challenging for some families. Securing this funding will help Laurel and New Castle Area school districts bridge that digital divide by ensuring household income never stands in the way of connectivity.”

Sainato said the grants are part of a package of $20 million in funding to school districts statewide under the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a temporary fund created through the American Rescue Plan and administered by the Federal Communications Commission.

The fund helps schools and libraries cover costs associated with digital devices such as laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and broadband connectivity purchases for off-campus use by students, educators and library patrons who currently lack sufficient access to broadband and connected devices.

More about the awards can be found here

The grant is part of the first wave of ECF funding. A second application window is now open, and eligible schools and libraries can apply at