Gov. Fletcher Announces "No Child Left Offline" Program
Gov. Fletcher announces "No Child Left Offline"
initiative during the Rural Telecommunication
Congress at the Radisson Hotel in Lexington.
The announcement press conference included
examples of PCs similar to those that will be
distributed by the "No Child Left Offline" program.
Project aimed at helping Kentucky’s underprivileged households participate in the Information Age
Gov. Fletcher recently announced a new pilot program that will provide computers to Kentucky’s underprivileged households to help bring them into the Information Age. Gov. Fletcher made the announcement at the national conference of the Rural Telecommunications Congress, Rural TeleCon '05, which was hosted by ConnectKentucky in Lexington on October 9-12.
“No Child Left Offline” is a project that will initially provide 500 refurbished surplus computers to 8th grade students across Kentucky. ConnectKentucky, the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet’s Commonwealth Office of Technology (COT) and Division of Surplus Property will recycle and refurbish surplus state computers. The initiative is also sponsored in part by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). Eventually, the program is expected to place 2,000 computers a year into Kentucky's underprivileged households.
The goal of the new program is to shrink the gap between those who have access to technology and those who don’t in the commonwealth and is part of Gov. Fletcher’s Prescription for Innovation. Kentucky currently ranks 45th in residential computer use and 43rd in residential Internet use. COT Commissioner Mike Inman said, "the first 500 computers had actually already been 'surplused' when this program came about, and we pulled them back." He added that the PCs donated by the state can't keep up with the growing demands of state government work, but are still relatively fast machines for home use. Inman also indicated that the state replaces its computers every four to five years, which should provide a steady stream of state computers to be channeled through the program as they become available.
The initiative's corporate partners will also play an important role in the effort and have announced impressive contributions extending beyond the 500 computers scheduled for initial distribution. Microsoft is donating 2,000 copies of Microsoft XP and Microsoft Office 2003, valued at more than $1.5 million. Lexmark donated 800 inkjet printers, each including two extra ink cartridges and cables, worth a total of $88,000. Computer Associates International is donating 800 licenses for its Integrated Security Software Suite which includes antivirus, antispyware, antispam and firewall software. The retail value of this donation is $56,000.
Brian Mefford, president and CEO of ConnectKentucky, says the pilot project will be targeted at counties in the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) region and distribution of computers will be determined through input from the ARC, Kentucky Education Cabinet and the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD).
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