The state released $34 million in technology grants targeting low-wealth schools earlier this month, about $5.44 for every schoolchild in the state, using the most recent state enrollment figures, 2008-09.
Stanislaus County will receive $455,104 of that stimulus money. That's $4.31 per student, about $1 less than the state average. San Joaquin County was awarded $665,317, or $4.91 per student. Both counties have higher than average numbers of poor students receiving free or reduced-price school lunches, 58 percent and 55 percent respectively. The state average is 53 percent.
Merced County, where 72 percent of students qualify for lunch subsidies, received $307,030, or an average of $5.47 per pupil.
The grants were awarded to 23 Stanislaus school districts, a charter school and the county office of education. The grants ranged from $357 for Gratton Elementary School District, less than $3 for each student, to $137,462, nearly $9 per student, for Modesto City Schools' high school district .
Modesto City elementary schools were awarded $60,400, or $3.85 per student.
In an e-mail, Modesto City Schools officials said the grant money will be spent over the coming year:
To help students in high school algebra classes
On a pilot program using wireless tablets, netbooks or e-readers
For mini-grants available for technology projects
To train teachers, administrators and staff in using technology in the classroom
Turlock Unified School District received $45,823. It will be spent connecting the district to the state's high-speed network for schools, said Judi Green, Turlock schools technology and data systems supervisor.
Ceres Unified School District received $41,229, which will be used for hardware such as desktop computers and LCD projectors, Ceres administrator Jay Simmonds said.
Oakdale Joint Unified School District was awarded $10,196, which it will spend to keep lab techs at its four elementary school computer labs, said Barbara Shook, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
The Stanislaus County Office of Education received a $53,926 grant. The office serves roughly 2,000 students at any one time in alternative education programs, some of which are online, and special education classes. It serves youth while they are homeless or in juvenile hall and assists children in foster care.
A quarter of the money must be spent on staff development, and the Career and Alternative Education staff will be trained on the Aeries student information system, administrator Bob Gausman said.
"Money will also be spent on an online curriculum as an option for our independent study students. This is a subscription service that allows students to proceed at their own pace," Gausman wrote in an e-mail. "Finally, some money is being used to purchase new Apple iPads for use in our juvenile hall. The long battery life and portability makes it suitable for classroom use."
The Enhancing Education Through Technology grants are designed to improve student achievement through the use of instructional technologies, according to a statement by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell. The goal is to help all students become technologically literate by the end of the eighth grade and train teachers to get them there, O'Connell said.
On the Net: www.cde.ca.gov.
Bee staff writer Nan Austin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2339.