BERLIN – A donation from the Worcester County Education Foundation provided the school system with funding for mobile hotspots.
Ray Thompson, chair of the Worcester County Education Foundation (WCEF) and Olivia Momme, WCEF’s manager of operations and community relations, presented the Worcester County Board of Education with a check for $45,000 last week. The funding serves as reimbursement for the hotspots the school system deployed this fall as distance learning was underway.
Thompson said WCEF members were pleased to be able to offer financial support to the school system to address its needs.
“We feel we may be able to plug some holes from time to time,” he said.
The WCEF was established in 2013 to provide a perpetual funding resource to ensure Worcester County’s students had equal access to a world class education that would enable them to function in the current digital environment.
According to Momme, the board of education makes an annual request to the foundation based on that year’s needs.
“This year with virtual learning our current reality, the inequity of access to internet service was highlighted, thus the Worcester County Education Foundation board of directors approved the funding request,” Momme said. “Due to financial constraints and/or lack of service in more rural areas, hotspots have been crucial to allow equal access for students to participate in their classes. These funds were raised through the partnerships we have within the community with committed individuals who see the value of an excellent education for every single Worcester County Public School student. A portion of the funds were provided specifically for hotspots through The Perdue Foundation.”
She said WCEF efforts helped address the inadequate level of state funding Worcester County Public Schools received.
“Despite the fact that 44% of their students come from households of poverty, Worcester County receives the second-lowest state funding per student,” she said. “The Worcester County Education Foundation’s mission is to establish a proactive partnership between the community and the public-school system by linking community resources with the educational needs of its students, further enhancing their ability to succeed.”