Could South Carolina schools be getting wireless?


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The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee is pushing state lawmakers to invest $30 million next year to improve wireless access to school buildings across the state.

The request is about $20 million more than lawmakers have allocated annually for Internet technology, but the committee contends the increase is needed.

The committee said the public school districts increasingly set goals to give every student a computer or a wireless device as testing and classroom instruction move online.

In an interview with The State, Melanie Barton, the oversight committee’s executive director, said outfitting every school in the state with wireless technology would cost about $97 million. She added some school districts already have wireless access, but may need other technology as a supplement.

“It’s going to take a lot more money than that, maybe up to $30 million a year, for the next few years,” Barton said. “We need to figure out where we are and where we need to be in technology.”

The Education Oversight Committee makes recommendations to the General Assembly on how to spend money generated from a statewide 1-cent sales tax for education expected to have an additional $18 million to spend next year, Barton said.

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