April 7, 2016 | Number of The Day
Amount NJ schools saved on high-speed Internet access by collaborating on purchases

High-speed Internet access (aka “broadband connectivity”) is an essential element of every kid’s education, from kindergarten through 12th grade. But for many poor communities, access may only be available in schools and libraries, when it’s available at all — and rarely found at home.

One way that New Jersey is pushing to close this digital divide is by using regional purchasing consortia to help schools collaborate and bring down the high price of broadband service. The first year of the program enabled participating schools to save $89 million and boost bandwidth 150 percent, according to a new report from SETDA (State Educators Technology Directors Association) and Common Sense Kids Action.

State Education Commissioner David Hespe had this to say about the program, “These are substantial savings of tax dollars that can be directed into the classroom. In addition, schools are able to leverage greater bandwidth speeds, which helps improve instruction and gives New Jersey children a competitive edge
with technology.”

New Jersey has elected to participate in the initiative for another year.