SWOCA Wins $275,000 in BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant Award

The Southwest Ohio Computer Association (SWOCA), on behalf of two member districts, received news today that they are the recipient of two grant awards equaling $275,000 to increase broadband access and connectivity in three local school districts. The grant funds were secured in cooperation with Middletown City Schools, Monroe Local Schools, Lakota Local Schools, and the Butler Tech Career Center. The grant funds were made available by BroadbandOhio.

Two proof of concept projects will be funded and completed using the grant award. The first project will see a Private LTE (pLTE) network installed in South Middletown to serve the neighborhood of Amanda Elementary. The second project will see a pLTE network installed to serve the mobile home communities of Rochester Hills and Countryside Estates in Monroe, serving students attending Monroe, Lakota, and Butler Tech. The pLTE networks will provide low-cost, broadband access and equipment to families living in those areas. If the projects are successful, the pLTE model can be expanded to other school districts and communities throughout Southwest Ohio. SWOCA expects construction on the LTE networks to begin soon with a hopeful completion date prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year.

“At SWOCA, we believe access to the internet through broadband networking should be available to all students, regardless of geographic location or affordability,” stated Donna Davis-Norris, SWOCA Executive Director. “The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the disparity that exists for families and schools in trying to provide the best education possible for their children. Broadband access is no longer a luxury but a requirement for meeting the instructional goals of school curriculum. We would not tolerate students being given different learning materials based on where they live or their household income. Likewise, we should not tolerate students not having access to the same online learning resources.”

Located in Hamilton behind the campus of Butler Tech, SWOCA is one of 18 governmental computer service organizations serving more than 1000 educational entities and over 1.5 million students in the state of Ohio. These service organizations, known as Information Technology Centers (ITCs), and their users make up the Ohio Education Computer Network (OECN). Such sites, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), comprise a statewide delivery system to provide comprehensive, cost-efficient accounting and other administrative and instructional computer services for participating Ohio entities. SWOCA currently employs 26 people and its employees are active in local, regional, and state work groups designed to make services for schools better, less costly, and more efficient. 2021 marks the 30-year anniversary for SWOCA.

Contact: Donna Davis-Norris, (513) 867-4721, donna@swoca.net

This press release originally published by the Southwest Ohio Computer Association.

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