coronavirus

School District Buys Internet Transmission Towers to Keep Students Connected

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Castleberry ISD  Superintendent John Ramos said if the district bought hotspots for each one of their students, they would spend more than $100,000 each month to pay for the service.

Instead, the district invested in three of its own transmission towers that cost $200,000 each.

More than 80% of the district's students come from families struggling financially.

The  district worked to give most of the students their own computers.

“We have one to one computers for students in 4th grade on, but they might as well be boat anchors without internet,” said Castleberry ISD Assistant Superintendent Renee Smith-Faulkner.

The district invested $600,000 on the towers to send the schools own WiFi signal out.

“This is a huge game-changer for us. We’re not out scrambling trying to buy hot spots or things of that nature,” said Ramos.

Other districts have reached out, trying to copy what Castleberry is doing. 

It was easier here because the district is just seven square miles, but could help the bigger districts fill the gaps and help students in one particular neighborhood.

About 8% of the district doesn’t get the signal from the tower, and that’s just because of hills and trees and other things that get in the way. Those students will get hotspots so they too can stay connected.

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